Russia Releases Navy Veteran Detained for Nearly a Year

Taylor Dudley, a U.S. Navy veteran held in detention in Russia for nearly a year, was released Thursday, according to his family.

Dudley was detained by Russian border patrol police in April after crossing from Poland into Kaliningrad. He was backpacking in Europe and looking for inspiration for possibly writing a book.

The Richardson Center for Global Engagement, a nonprofit founded by former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, spearheaded the negotiations for Dudley’s release.

“Earlier today, Russian authorities released American Citizen Taylor Dudley, a 35-year-old Navy veteran, across the Polish border to Gov. Bill Richardson, his team, and a representative from the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw, a release the Richardson Center worked on diligently and quietly for more than 6 months with significant assistance from the Steve Menzies Global Foundation, from Hostage U.S., and from the James Foley Foundation,” family spokesman Jonathan Franks said in a statement.

“The past 9 months have been difficult ones for the family, and they ask the media to respect their privacy and give them the space to welcome Taylor home.”

The Steve Menzies Global Foundation and the U.S. Embassy also helped secure Dudley’s release, Franks said.

Richardson has long worked to free Americans detained abroad. His center played a central role in the release last year of Trevor Reed, a U.S. citizen and former Marine who had been detained in Russia since 2019.

“It is significant that despite the current environment between our two countries, the Russian authorities did the right thing by releasing Taylor today,” Richardson said in a statement. “As we celebrate Taylor’s safe return, we remain very concerned for Paul Whelan and committed to continue to work on his safe return, as we have been for the last four years, as well as other Americans.”

A White House official said in a statement: “The Biden Administration is grateful for the work of Consular Affairs, Embassy Warsaw and Embassy Moscow that led to the resolution reached in this case. Out of consideration for the privacy of the family, we will not have further details to share at this time.”

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