A military veteran from the United States was recently detained in Russia on drug-related allegations.
A drugs raid that has the potential to escalate enmities between Washington and Moscow resulted in the detention of Travis Michael Leake and his friend, Valeria Grobanyuk. After the invasion of Ukraine and a number of recent arrests of US citizens, the State Department advised Americans to stay away from Russia.
footage from Mr. Leake’s trial that showed him imprisoned in a metal cage was aired on Russian official television.
He said he “didn’t know” why he was being held in a different video that was posted online.
He said he didn’t think he had done what he was accused of since he didn’t know what the allegations were, looking bewildered in the process.
According to a US State Department official, embassy personnel were present at Mr. Leake’s court appearance on June 10th.
The representative also stated that the department was constantly monitoring the situation.
According to AFP, he will be detained until August 6 in anticipation of a potential trial.
US citizens detained in Russia
US journalist Evan Gershkovich, a correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, was detained by Russian officials in March on suspicion of espionage. He is still being held pending trial.
The charges have been vehemently refuted by The Journalist, who also call for his release. President Joe Biden told reporters on Friday that his message to Russia was to “Let him go.” US officials have also urged Russia to release him.
Brittney Griner, a famous player for the WNBA, was also detained in Moscow last year on drug-related charges and given a nine-year prison term after Russian investigators discovered cannabis vape cartridges in her luggage.
For months, the Biden administration attempted to negotiate a deal with Russia in order to release Griner. Bout was up for trade in exchange for Griner and Paul Whelan, a former U.S. Marine, as well as another American.
Prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has strained ties between the US and Russia, US Marine Paul Whelan was given a 16-year prison sentence on “spying” accusations.
Image source: NPR
Russian officials have been charged by US officials with intentionally arresting American individuals.