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Russia accuses a US citizen of trying to kidnap his 4-year-old son out of the country


A US citizen has been charged with attempting to abduct his 4-year-old son and illegally cross a Russian border with him, prosecutors in Russia’s Kaliningrad region said Thursday.

The 35-year-old, whose name has not been released, wanted to “live with the child outside of Russia, without obtaining the consent of the baby’s mother”, the Russian Investigative Committee department of the Kaliningrad region in a statement on Telegram.

Criminal proceedings have been opened against the American citizen who arrived in the Kaliningrad region on July 27 “to meet his 4-year-old son”, who was “a citizen of the Russian Federation”, the statement added. has not yet been filed.

“Under the pretext of spending time together”, the man drove his son to the urban district of Mamonovsky, near the Polish border, before he “attempted to illegally cross the state border through a wooded and swampy area,” the statement said. added.

The man was arrested by officers at the border of Kaliningrad, a semi-exclave on the Baltic Sea, Russia’s westernmost region, the statement said.

At the time, a district court in the eastern city of Kaliningrad was “also considering a civil case to determine the child’s place of residence”, the region said.

“In the near future, the accused will be questioned by an investigator from the regional department of the Russian Investigative Commission and charges will be brought against him,” the statement added.

No other details about the man were included in the statement and it was unclear whether he had been arrested.

The investigators or the judge could conclude that there is not enough evidence and the case could be dropped.

NBC News has contacted the State Department for comment.

In recent years, Americans have been directly targeted by the Russian government for what the United States considers politically motivated arrests.

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gerhskovich remains in jail on charges of espionage after a Moscow court extended his pretrial detention by three months in late August.

The 32-year-old US citizen was arrested in late March while reporting. Gershkovich and his employer denied these allegations, and the US government said he was wrongfully detained.

Paul Whelan, head of security for a US company, has also been imprisoned in Russia since 2018 in a high-profile espionage case.

And in December, the United States negotiated the release of WNBA Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner in exchange for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.

Griner, who played basketball in Russia during the WNBA offseason, was arrested for carrying vape cartridges containing cannabis oil in her luggage. She pleaded guilty but said she had no criminal intent.