Taylor Dudley Wiki, Biography
On Thursday, January 12, 2023, US Navy veteran Taylor Dudley was finally released after being detained in Kaliningrad in April 2022. The news was confirmed by Taylor Dudley’s family and the office of the Former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson. Dudley was held in Russian custody for nearly a year.
ABC News reported that the Navy veteran is currently with the Richardson Center team, which has reportedly traveled to Russia multiple times over the past year to secure Taylor Dudley’s release from detention.
The former governor also expressed concern about a former Marine named Paul Whelan, who was arrested in Russia in 2018 and has been held there ever since. Richardson also mentioned that as much as they enjoy Dudley’s return, they will also continue to work towards Paul’s release.
Taylor Dudley was finally released from Russian detention after crossing the Polish border and entering Kaliningrad during a music festival.
Michigan native Taylor Dudley, 35, was arrested and detained by Russian authorities after crossing into Kaliningrad from Poland in 2022. He was reportedly attending a music festival in Poland at the time. However, it could not be discovered why he crossed over and reached Kaliningrad. The US Navy veteran was detained for nearly a year before being released Thursday.
The Richardson Center for Global Engagement released a statement announcing Dudley’s safe release. The members stated that they had to travel to various parts of Russia to negotiate the safe return of Taylor Dudley with the Russian authorities. The statement said:
“Negotiations and work to ensure Taylor’s safe return were conducted discreetly and with commitment on the ground in both Moscow and Kaliningrad.”
Bill Richardson did not reveal much about the negotiations that led to Taylor Dudley’s return, saying Russian authorities did “the right thing.” The Navy veteran’s detention has not been described as arbitrary or “unfair” in any way.
The news did not make many headlines and had not been published as Dudley’s family wanted the entire procedure to be as discreet as possible. Richardson said in the statement:
“It is significant that despite the current environment between our two countries, the Russian authorities did the right thing by releasing Taylor today.”
Mickey Bergman, vice president and CEO of the Richardson Center for Global Engagement, confirmed that there has been no release on the US side of Taylor Dudley. In addition to the Richardson Center, the US Embassy and the Steve Menzies Global Foundation also assisted in Dudley’s safe release. Family spokesman Jonathan Franks told CNN:
“The last 9 months have been difficult for the family and they ask the media to respect his privacy and give them the space to welcome Taylor home.”
CNN reported that Trevor Reed and Brittney Griner have been released from Russian detention. Whelan has been in his custody since 2018. In addition, Russian authorities have accused him of being a spy, which has been denied by both US authorities and Whelan’s family.
Richardson has expressed concern over the detention of former Marine Paul Whelan in Russia
Bill Richardson addressed the issue of Paul Whelan, saying that his team is still “moving forward” in negotiations with Russian authorities to secure Paul Whelan’s release. He continued:
CNN also reached out to Richardson by phone, who said:
“After six months of intensive work, it’s great to see this Taylor Dudley release happen. We worked hard in Moscow and Kaliningrad and first raised it during our meetings with Russian officials about Brittney Griner, Paul Whelan and Trevor Reed.”
“As we celebrate Taylor’s safe return, we remain very concerned for Paul Whelan and are committed to continuing to work toward his safe return, as we have for the past four years, along with other Americans.”
The former governor further added:
“There are many low-profile Americans who also deserve freedoms. In other words, there are many around the world who are not famous but who still deserve the backing of the United States.”
Unlike US Navy veteran Taylor Dudley, Paul’s detention has been classified as wrongful. The latter was arrested in 2018 and sentenced to 16 years in prison. In addition, the US authorities have made several attempts to free Paul Whelan.
Last year, they put forward a proposal to trade Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan in a trade for Viktor Bout, who is an arms dealer. However, Russia did not agree to the proposal and decided to simply release Griner.
A White House official has issued a statement saying:
“The Biden Administration is grateful for the work of Consular Affairs, the Warsaw Embassy and the Moscow Embassy that led to the resolution reached in this case. Out of consideration for the family’s privacy, we will not have any further details to share at this time.”
Authorities mentioned that Taylor Dudley was released Thursday morning at the Russian-Polish border crossing. Representatives of the US embassy in Warsaw told the media that relatives of Richardson and Dudley, including his mother, Shelley, will fly from Poland to Virginia after receiving him.