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Russia Releases U.S. Navy Veteran Who Crossed Border

US Navy veteran Taylor Dudley, 2nd from right, was released, Jan. 12, 2023, after nearly a year in Russian detention and months of negotiations led by former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, center. Courtesy Family
US Navy veteran Taylor Dudley, 2nd from right, was released, Jan. 12, 2023, after nearly a year in Russian detention and months of negotiations led by former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, center. Courtesy Family

Russia has released a U.S. Navy veteran who apparently illegally crossed the border from Poland into the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad last year and was held there for nine months.

Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson announced that Taylor Dudley had been handed over to U.S. custody in Poland on Thursday.

The State Department had no immediate substantive comment but said it was aware of “reports” that an American citizen had been deported from Russia. The department said it was constrained in what it could say about the case due to privacy concerns.

However, Richardson said the U.S. embassies in Warsaw and Moscow had played a role in securing Dudley’s release and even mentioned several diplomats who worked on the matter by name.

Unlike in high-profile previous releases by Russia of imprisoned Americans — like WNBA star Brittney Griner and former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed — there was no swap for Dudley, who was never considered by the U.S. to have been wrongfully detained.

Related Story: Marc Fogel and Paul Whelan: Americans Left Behind in Brittney Griner Prisoner Swap with Russia

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Biden is expected to attend events in France this week to honor the battle, and will deliver a speech on democracy and freedom. He will appear alongside other world leaders, including the United Kingdom's King Charles III. He will also meet U.S. World War II veterans.