Michigan man, Navy vet released after nearly a year in Russian detention

Taylor Dudley Release Photo, Russian side.jpg
Taylor Dudley.jpg
Russia Putin
Russia Griner
Joey Reed, Paula Reed
Posted at 11:29 AM, Jan 12, 2023

CNN has reported the release of a U.S. Navy veteran Thursday after almost a year in Russian custody.

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

“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.”

In April of 2022, Taylor Dudley, 35, of Lansing, was detained by Russian police after crossing the border from Poland into Kaliningrad, a Russian controlled territory located between Poland and Lithuania.

Dudley, according to Franks, was in Poland to attend a music festival. Currently, it is not known why Dudley left Poland to cross the border into Kaliningrad.

Due to requests by Dudley's family to keep the matter private during negotiations, the news about his detention was not made publicly available before his release. The release comes after months of negotiations led by former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson's non-profit, The Richardson Center for Global Engagement, which is also responsible for securing the release of former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed from detention in Russia.

“After six months of intensive work, it’s great to see this release of Taylor Dudley happen,” Richardson said. “We worked it hard in Moscow and Kaliningrad and first raised it during our meetings with Russian officials on Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan and Trevor Reed.”

While no prisoner exchange was made with the U.S. for his release, the U.S. State Department, along with the U.S. Embassies in Moscow and Warsaw and the Steve Menzies Global Foundation also assisted in obtaining Dudley’s release from Russia.

“There are many low-profile Americans that deserve freedoms, too,” Richardson said. “In other words, there are many around the world that don’t have fame but that still deserve America’s backing.”