Russia Releases Former US Serviceman Last Minute News Headlines and Events

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Russia has released an American citizen arrested for crossing into the Kaliningrad region in the first weeks of the occupation of Ukraine that began in February last year.

It was alleged that the released American citizen was 35-year-old former Navy officer Taylor Dudley. This was stated by former American diplomat Bill Richardson, who met Dudley on the border with Poland.

Jonathan Franks, a lawyer for Americans detained abroad, said Taylor Dudley crossed the Polish-Russian border in April while traveling through Europe.

Kaliningrad, a Russian province sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania, is also home to the Russian Baltic Fleet.

Dudley’s circumstances at the time of his stay in Russia were unknown and had not previously been made public.

A US State Department spokesman said he had information about the deportation of an American citizen from Russia, but did not elaborate on his situation for reasons of confidentiality.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has not yet responded to requests for comment on the matter.

Dudley’s release at the Bagrationovsk-Bezledy border crossing came at a time when relations between Washington and Moscow deteriorated following the Russian invasion of Ukraine that began on February 24, 2022.

Previously, WNBA player Brittney Griner was released by Russia in exchange for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, who was imprisoned in the United States. However, former US Navy American Paul Whelan is still in a labor camp in Russia.

Bill Richardson, one of the US ambassadors to the UN and a former governor of New Mexico, is working to free Americans detained abroad. According to attorney Jonathan Franks and Richardson’s Global Contact Center, Richardson met with Dudley at the border and worked for several months to get Dudley free.

“Negotiations to ensure Taylor’s safe return were conducted in secret, in contact with Moscow and Kaliningrad, with the full support of Taylor’s family in the United States,” the Richardson Center said in a statement.

According to Franks, a representative from the US embassy in Warsaw was also present at Dudley’s release. The Richardson Center thanked US officials and businessman Steve Menzies for helping Dudley return safely to his homeland.

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