Taylor Dudley: After nearly nine months in custody, Russia released US Navy veteran Taylor Dudley, 35, according to Jonathan Franks, a spokesman for the family. In April 2022, Dudley crossed the border into Russia when he was on a European backpacking trip.
He was arrested by Russian police while en route to Poland to attend a music festival. Because the United States has not yet made an official announcement regarding the exchange, it is still unknown why Dudley was detained and whether there was a prisoner swap.
According to a statement from his family and the office of former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, the Lansing resident was being held in a Russian prison. Richardson claimed that since April 2022, he had been detained in Kaliningrad, a Russian province on the Baltic Sea.
Richardson and the US government have been attempting to rescue Dudley, one of the numerous Americans held captive in Moscow. His release came shortly after US President Joe Biden successfully obtained the freedom of WNBA star Britney Griner in exchange for the notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, also referred to as the “merchant of death.”
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The US veteran had gone to Europe to “seek inspiration for a prospective book,” according to spokeswoman Franks, who did not go into further detail about his reasons for entering Russia.
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For more than six months, Richardson Center has been working “diligently and quietly” to secure Dudley’s release, he said. In negotiations with the Russian “counterparts and conduits” in Moscow and Kaliningrad, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson and his nonprofit organization, the Richardson Center for Global Engagement, managed to secure Dudley’s release, according to a statement from Richardson’s office, the Richardson Center.
The Russian officials released him Thursday morning at the Poland-Russia border crossing at Bagrationovsk-Bezledy. Richardson, Dudley’s mother Shelley, and other family members are traveling from Poland to Virginia on Thursday and Friday, according to a spokesperson from the US Embassy in Warsaw, who informed American broadcasters that Dudley was being received.
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