MOSCOW – Russian officials have not yet decided whether to release a Briton and an American who have been confined to a remote eastern village after crossing the frozen Bering Strait by foot and entering Russia without proper documents, Russian news agencies reported Wednesday.
Karl Bushby of Britain and Dimitry Kieffer of Anchorage, Alaska, arrived in Russia's Chukotka province from Alaska on Friday and failed to register with local authorities, as foreigners are required to do. It took them 15 days to walk the 56 miles from Alaska to Russian territory.
The pair had Russian visas, but no stamps on their passports. They were being held in the small village of Lavrenty, about 500 miles northeast of the provincial capital of Anadyr, while security officials investigate the incident, the Interfax news agency reported.
Local resident Vasily Dobriyev said the travelers were able to walk freely around the village and have moved from a hotel to the house of a local Orthodox priest.
After being released, the travelers plan to fly to the United States to get their documents in order, then return to Russia to continue their journey, Dobriyev said.
"They are feeling fine, they say they will try to set things straight with their documents and come back here one more time," Dobriyev told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from Chukotka.
A U.S. Embassy spokesman said staff are "looking into the case and contacting Russian authorities about it."
Bushby's Web site identified him as a 36-year-old former paratrooper who made the crossing as part of a round-the-world walk that began in 1998 at the southern tip of South America.
He wants to be the first person to walk all the way around the world, his Web site says. Since the beginning of his journey on Nov. 1, 1998, he has covered 17,000 miles, walking through South, Central and North America.