Still Held by Russia, US Soldier Gordon Black Files Appeal over Confinement Ahead of Trial

Pfc. Gordon Black
Pfc. Gordon Black sends a greeting to Cheyenne, Wyoming from Camp Echo, Iraq for Holiday Season 2009. (Screen shot from DVIDs video)

The U.S. Army soldier currently being held in police custody in Russia appealed his two-month pretrial detention, according to state media.

Staff Sgt. Gordon Black, 34, was detained by Russian authorities in the port city of Vladivostok on May 2 on suspicion he stole money from his Russian girlfriend. Black, an infantryman, was stationed in South Korea and was en route to a new assignment at Fort Cavazos, Texas, when he made an unauthorized detour to Russia.

RIA Novosti, a Russian state-owned news agency, reported Monday that Black's defense team has filed an appeal of the soldier's pretrial detention. According to the article, which cites a spokeswoman for the court, objections to the motion can be filed until May 20.

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The Army did not respond to a request for comment on whether it has assisted Black with legal counsel. It's unclear whether he has an attorney in Russia.

Black is married to an American woman and is going through a divorce, Texas court records show. Meanwhile, he had been with the Russian woman, Alexandra Vashchuk, for at least a year, according to social media posts made by her and Black.

The pair had a seemingly odd, and violent, relationship. Megan Black, the soldier's wife, told Reuters that, during a video call with Gordon Black, he and his Russian girlfriend got into a fight that ended with the girlfriend hitting and eventually stabbing him. Black's mother, Melody Jones, also told Reuters that the two constantly fought.

Vashchuk posted numerous videos on social media of Black, sometimes referring to him as her husband -- though there's no evidence the two are married.

In one posted video, Vashchuk asked Black questions about Russia's relationship with the U.S. He said former President Donald Trump was a better leader, that NATO is "aggressive," and suggested that Russia's warpath in Ukraine is justified -- tracking closely with common Kremlin talking points.

Vashchuk has since partially sanitized her social media accounts of Black: In one image of her at a restaurant, she edited him out of the photo.

Defense Department officials have declined to offer any further information about Black and instead directed reporters to the State Department, which has said it is providing consular support. reached out to the State Department for details about the support being provided to Black but did not receive a response in time for publication.

Black's case bears some key similarities to that of Pvt. Travis King, an Army soldier who darted across the Korean Demilitarized Zone and was held by North Korea for just over two months last year.

Aside from being stationed at the same Army camp in South Korea, both soldiers also disobeyed orders in traveling to North Korea and China then Russia, respectively.

While military officials have declined to forecast Black's fate, King has remained in the Army after being released from North Korea, and his legal proceedings continue to play out.

Last month, the Army confirmed that King was still in the service and assigned to the 1st Armored Division. Jonathan Franks, a spokesman for King and his family, told that the young soldier was being held in pretrial confinement in New Mexico, about 45 minutes from Fort Bliss, Texas.

Related: Gordon and Aleksandra: Videos, Photos Show Relationship Between Detained Soldier and Russian Woman

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