LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — An American Navy Veteran who is from Lansing has been released from Russian custody, according to former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson and the Richardson Center, who were leading the negations.
Taylor Dudley, 35, has reportedly been detained in Russia for nearly a year. He was released Thursday at the Russia-Poland Bagrationovsk-Bezledy border crossing and is on his way home with his mother Shelley.
Dudley was detained by Russian border patrol police in April 2022 after crossing from Poland into Kaliningrad, a Russian exclave which is governed by Moscow.
He was in Poland attending a music festival and it’s not clear why he crossed the border, according to CNN.
“Taylor’s safe return would not have been possible without the help of Ara Abramyan and Vitaly Pruss, who turned every stone in this joint effort; and the help of Steve Menzies, who offered tremendous support to this effort,” said Governor Richardson. “It is significant that despite the current environment between our two countries, the Russian authorities did the right thing by releasing Taylor today. And 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.”
Dudley’s detention had not been widely publicized before Thursday because his family wanted the negotiations and incident to remain private.
“Over the past year, our team travelled to Moscow and the region multiple times, liaising with our Russian counterparts and conduits. The negotiations and work to secure Taylor’s safe return were done discreetly and with engagement on the ground in both Moscow and Kaliningrad and with full support from Taylor’s family back in the United States,” according to the Richardson Center.
The Richardson Center said it negotiates for the release of American prisoners and hostages held in hostile regimes or in countries with strained diplomatic relations.
“We work on behalf of the families and at no cost to them. The Richardson Center is greatly appreciative of our partners, including many private individuals and foundations who support and enable our work as a non-for-profit,” the organization said.
Governor Richardson said he was personally thankful to Jon Franks, Dr. Mohler and Anna Tunkel for their work in support of Taylor’s release.
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