Adopted US Citizen Sentenced to Prison In Russia

Diplomatic Talks Over Ukraine Come to Standstill As Russia Doubles War Effort

( – An American citizen has been sentenced to 12.5 years in a Russian prison. Robert Woodland, who was born in Russia but adopted by American parents at age 2, returned to Moscow at age 26 to meet his biological mother and was detained in January this year on drug trafficking charges. Woodland traveled to Russia in 2020 and decided to stay, working as an English teacher.

Prosecutors accuse the American of smuggling and attempting to sell a large amount of methadone, and Russian officials claim he had confessed to some aspects of the crime. His attorney, Stanislav Kshevitsky, confirmed this but would not say which offenses he admitted and which he denied. Kshevitsky told reporters, however, that the prosecution had not presented any evidence that his client was involved in narcotics sales.

The US State Department did not comment on the case except to say it has “no greater priority than the safety and security of US citizens overseas.” American officials have repeatedly urged US citizens to leave Russia, as commentators suggest the Kremlin is deliberately detaining Americans to use as bargaining chips with the United States.

The exact number of Americans in Russian jails is unknown, but cases involving Paul Whelan and Evan Gershkovich have attracted international attention.

Mr. Gershkovich is a Wall Street Journal reporter who was arrested while working in Russia. He is accused of spying and held in the notorious Lefortovo Prison in Moscow. Michigan-based corporate executive Paul Whelan traveled to Moscow for a friend’s wedding and was likewise accused of espionage. A court sentenced him to 16 years in jail in 2018, but Whelan has consistently maintained his innocence.

During the recent Presidential debate in Atlanta, Donald Trump insisted that he would bring American prisoners back to the United States without paying any ransom funds to the Russians. He condemned President Biden, saying he gives American money away to foreign leaders and gets little or nothing in return.

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