US Navy Veteran Taylor Dudley Reportedly Freed From Russian Detention

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Dylan Housman Deputy News Editor
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American Navy veteran Taylor Dudley has been released from detention in Russia after being held for almost a year, his family’s spokesperson told CNN on Thursday.

Russian border police took Dudley, 35, into custody in April 2022 after he crossed from Poland into Kaliningrad, CNN reported. The Michigan native had been attending a music festival in Poland.

It remains unclear exactly why Dudley crossed the border into Kaliningrad, an exclave territory controlled by Moscow that sits between Lithuania and Poland. The U.S. government has not considered his detainment to be wrongful.

Former Democratic New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and his non-profit, the Richardson Center for Global Engagement, led the effort to free Dudley, family spokesman Jonathan Franks told CNN. The former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations has spent much of his post-government life working to free Americans detained abroad.

The U.S. did not grant anything or anyone to Russia in exchange for Dudley’s release, Richardson Center vice president Mickey Bergman told CNN. Richardson told the outlet he and his team first raised Dudley’s status with Russian officials during meetings regarding Brittney Griner, Paul Whelan and Trevor Reed. (RELATED: Brittney Griner Releases First Statement Since Being Traded For ‘Merchant Of Death’ Viktor Bout)

Griner was freed from Russian detention in December after being held for nearly a year. Reed, a former Marine, was released from Russia in April 2022 after being held since 2019. Whelan, another former Marine, is still being held by Russian authorities after he was arrested on espionage charges in 2018.

The State Department has not publicly commented on the reported release of Dudley.