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Lansing man freed from Russian detention, Slotkin welcomes announcement

A Lansing man who had been detained in Russia for almost a year has been freed,.

35-year-old Taylor Dudley, a veteran of the U.S. Navy, was released from Russian custody on Thursday. That’s according to his family’s spokesperson, Jonathan Franks.

“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,” said Franks. “The family will be forever grateful for the work of all three.”

Dudley (who is pictured above hugging his mother upon his release) was reportedly detained by Russian border patrol police in April 2022 after he crossed from Poland into Kaliningrad, a territory governed by Moscow located between Poland and Lithuania. He had been in Poland attending a music festival at the time. It is not known why he crossed the border.

Following news of the release, U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing), who represents Dudley’s district, welcomed the news.

“I couldn’t be happier with today’s news that Taylor Dudley has been released from Russian custody & is coming home,” tweeted Slotkin. “I’m deeply grateful to everyone who had a hand in making this day a reality, and ask you to join me in sending your thoughts & well wishes to Taylor & his family.”

Dudley’s family had kept news of his detentions quiet while negotiations took place. Because Dudley had illegally crossed the border, the US government did not deemed his detention as “wrongful.”

No exchange was made on the U.S. side for Dudley, unlike in December when WNBA star Brittany Griner was released in exchange for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.

Still being held is Paul Whelan of Novi, a former U.S. Marine who was arrested in Russia in December 2018 and sentenced to 16 years in prison.

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