[REGIONAL NEWS] ‘It’s finally over’: Latter-day Saint missionaries deported from Russia are returning to the United States

By Thomas Burr | The Salt Lake Tribune

David Gaag poses in this undated photo. Gaag and his companion, Kole Brodowski, were working as volunteers for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Russia. Authorities there detained the men on March 1, 2019. They were released March 20./Photo courtesy Lisa Krulish

Two missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who had been detained in Russia have been released and are returning to the United States, the church announced Wednesday morning.

Kole Brodowski, 20, and David Gaag, 19, had spent nearly three weeks in detention after Russian authorities arrested them on suspicion of teaching English without a license, a charge the faith had denied. Missionaries for the church are not allowed to legally proselytize in Russia and are dubbed “volunteers” during their time in the country.

“The two volunteers detained in Novorossiysk, Russia, have been released and have left the country,” church spokesman Eric Hawkins said Wednesday.

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