Robert Romanov Woodland, a citizen of the United States, was arrested in Moscow on suspicion of narcotics offenses that may result in a 20-year jail term.
The US State Department has issued a travel warning to Americans, citing the possibility of unlawful imprisonment in Russia as a reason to avoid the country in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine.
Until March 5, Woodland must stay in detention on charges of unlawful possession or acquisition of narcotics in Moscow’s Ostankino District Court. Woodland’s lawyers asked that he be remanded to house arrest, but Russian prosecutors denied the request.
When he was a child, Woodland was adopted by American citizens and brought to live in the United States from an orphanage in Perm, Ural Mountains, Russia.
After returning to Russia, he ultimately found his Russian mother, and they were reunited on Russian television.
The detention has been confirmed and reported, but the State Department has chosen not to comment more due to privacy concerns. The protection of American citizens abroad is of the utmost importance to the United States Department of State, and its embassies and consulates are prepared to provide any necessary consular assistance to any American person detained abroad.
Paul Whelan and Evan Gershkovich, two American nationals wrongfully detained in Russia, are the targets of a State Department effort to secure their release. The Russian government consistently turned down repeated offers from the US to release Gershkovich and Whelan. In each instance, the United States government has denied the allegations.
U.S. citizens have been advised by the State Department not to go to Russia in recent years, citing concerns about the possibility of unjustified detentions as the reason for the heightened caution. In December 2022, a prisoner exchange brought basketball star Brittney Griner back to the United States, while Evan Gershkovich is now facing prosecution in Russia.