US citizen convicted of drug-related charges in Russia

Robert Woodland, a Russia-born US citizen, has been convicted of drug-related charges by a Moscow court and sentenced to 12 and a half years in prison.

He was found guilty of attempted trafficking of large amounts of illegal drugs as part of an organised group.

Russian media reported that his name matches a US citizen interviewed in 2020 who said he was born in the Perm region in 1991 and adopted by a US couple at the age of two.

He said he travelled to Russia to find his mother and eventually met her on a TV show before deciding to move to Russia.

Russian news agency Interfax has cited court officials as saying that Woodland also holds Russian citizenship.

Arrests of US citizens in Russia have become increasingly common as relations between Russian and US officials sink to Cold War lows.

US authorities accuse Russia of targeting their citizens and using them as political bargaining chips but Russian officials insist they all broke the law.

Some have been exchanged for Russian citizens held in the US, while for others the prospects of being released in a swap are less clear.