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Russian prosecutors ask for nearly five years in prison for US soldier

By Thomson Reuters Jun 18, 2024 | 8:16 PM

(Reuters) -Prosecutors have asked for a prison sentence of four years and eight months for a U.S. soldier who has been detained in the Russian city of Vladivostok on suspicion of theft and threats to kill his girlfriend, Russian agencies reported on Wednesday.

Gordon Black, who was detained on May 2 in Vladivostok in Russia’s far east, pleaded not guilty on Monday to charges of threatening to kill his girlfriend but admitted he was “partially” guilty of stealing from her.

“(We ask) to impose a sentence of four years and eight months, to be served in a penal colony,” Russia’s RIA state news agency cited the prosecutor as saying at the court hearing.

The prosecutor has also asked for a fine of 40,000 roubles ($469), RIA reported.

Black’s defence lawyer has asked the court to acquit him of all of the charges, RIA reported.

Earlier, RIA reported that Black “partially” acknowledged his guilt on the charge of stealing 10,000 roubles ($113) from his girlfriend Alexandra Vashchuk’s purse but said that “there was no intent”.

The pair had met in South Korea, where Black was stationed. The Pentagon has said that he broke army rules by travelling to Russia without authorisation, having passed through China.

($1 = 85.2455 roubles)

(Reporting by Lidia Kelly in Melbourne; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Michael Perry)