Russian court says US soldier charged with theft causing 'significant' damage

Selfie shows U.S. serviceman detained in Russia, in an unspecified location

MOSCOW (Reuters) - U.S. soldier Gordon Black, who has been detained the Russian city of Vladivostok until July 2, has been charged with theft causing significant damage, a Russian court said.

The detention of Black, who the Pentagon said travelled to Russia without authorization, presents yet another diplomatic headache for the United States, which has warned U.S. citizens against all travel to Russia.

He was detained in early May in Vladivostok, in Russia's Far East.

The Pervomaisky District Court of Vladivostok said in a statement that it had decided on the preventive measure to detain Black until July 2 for "secretly stealing the property of citizen T., causing the latter significant damage."

"When choosing the preventive measure in the form of detention, the court came to the conclusion that US citizen B. (Black) - under the weight of the charges - could hide from the preliminary investigation authorities and the court to avoid responsibility," the court said in the statement.

Earlier, the court's press service identified the soldier as Gordon Black.

The Russian interior ministry in Vladivostok said on Tuesday that a 32-year-old woman had filed a complaint against the 34-year-old suspect.

The two had met in South Korea. The American had come to Vladivostok to visit her, the two had an argument, and she later filed a police report accusing him of stealing money, it said. He was arrested in a local hotel, having bought a plane ticket to return home.

The Pentagon said on Tuesday that before his arrest in Russia, Black not only broke Army rules by travelling to the Russian city of Vladivostok without authorization, but he did so after passing through China.

(Reporting by Lidia Kelly in Melbourne and Reuters in Moscow; editing by Guy Faulconbridge)