American Soldier Detained in Russia Facing Allegation of Theft, Officials Say

An American soldier stationed in South Korea was returning home to Fort Cavazos in Texas but instead traveled to Russia, according to two unnamed U.S. officials.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss personnel details.

Cynthia Smith, an Army spokeswoman, confirmed that a soldier was detained on Thursday in Vladivostok, Russia on charges of criminal misconduct. She said Russia notified the U.S. and the Army told the soldier’s family.

“The U.S. Department of State is providing appropriate consular support to the soldier in Russia,” Smith said.

It was unclear Monday if the soldier is considered absent without leave.

The arrest comes less than a year after American soldier Travis King crossed the border between North and South Korea. North Korea said it would expel King, who was returned to the U.S. He was eventually charged with desertion.

Russia is known to be holding a number of Americans in its jails, including corporate security executive Paul Whelan and Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich. The U.S. government has designated both as wrongfully detained and has been trying to negotiate for their release.

Others detained include , a musician who had been living in Russia for years and was arrested last year on drug-related charges; Marc Fogel, a teacher in Moscow, who was sentenced to 14 years in prison, also on drug charges; and dual nationals and .

The soldier’s arrest in Russia was first reported by NBC News.

___ Associated Press reporters Matthew Lee and Eric Tucker contributed to this report.