Russia arrests US man on drug trafficking costs

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Russia arrests US man on drug trafficking costs

A US nationwide has been arrested on drug trafficking costs in Russia, the latter nation stated on Tuesday, bringing the variety of People detained by authorities in Moscow to a minimum of three as tensions rise over the Ukraine conflict.

Robert Romanov Woodland, 32, was arrested on 5 January, Reuters reported, citing the Russian information web site Mash, which stated Woodland confronted a 20-year jail sentence if convicted.

A district court docket within the northern Moscow suburb of Ostankino dominated on Saturday to maintain Woodland in custody till 5 March on costs of tried large-scale manufacturing and sale of unlawful medicine.

No different particulars have been instantly out there. And neither the US state division nor US embassy in Moscow has commented, though the secretary of state, Antony Blinken, is anticipated to be requested concerning the arrest at a press convention in a while Tuesday.

Russian media stated that the title of the accused matches that of a US citizen interviewed by the newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda in 2020, who stated he was born within the Perm area of Russia’s Ural mountains in 1991 and adopted by an American couple on the age of two.

The person stated he later traveled to Russia to seek out his start mom, and after finding her he determined to remain within the city of Dolgoprudny 15 miles north of central Moscow. He stated he labored as an English instructor at an area college.

Woodland’s arrest comes as relations between the US and Russia develop more and more strained because the conflict in Ukraine continues. Efforts by the Biden administration to safe the discharge of two different People jailed in Russia – the Wall Avenue Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich and the previous marine Paul Whelan – have been rejected final month, and Woodland’s detention will gasoline analysts’ fears that they’re being held as bargaining chips.

Russia freed the American basketball star Brittney Griner, who spent nearly 10 months in jail on drug costs, in December 2022 in trade for the infamous arms vendor Viktor Bout, the so-called “Service provider of Demise” who was held in a US jail for 12 years.

On the time, Joe Biden expressed remorse the deal didn’t embody Whelan, 53, a company safety govt from Michigan who was jailed in 2018 on espionage costs his household and US officers say are false.

“Whereas now we have not but succeeded in securing Paul’s launch, we’re not giving up. We’ll by no means hand over,” the president stated, though in an interview final month Whelan, who’s serving a 16-year sentence, stated he felt “deserted and betrayed” by the US.

Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, stated final month his authorities had talked with the US over the 2 detainees and hoped to “discover a resolution”.

Gershkovich, 32, is the primary American journalist to be held in Russia on spying costs for the reason that finish of the chilly conflict. He was arrested within the Urals metropolis of Ekaterinburg on a reporting journey in March 2023 and has been held behind bars since. Like Woodland, he faces a 20-year jail time period if convicted.

No trial date has been set, and the US authorities has declared him to be wrongfully detained.

Reuters and the Related Press contributed to this report


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