Kremlin: No prisoner exchange between Russia and US taking place
Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov says no agreement has been signed between the US and Russia for the exchange of prisoners.
Following a CNN story of a possible exchange of prisoners between the US and Russia, Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov has announced that there is no agreement between the two countries for the potential swap of prisoners.
"The first thing we know is that such reports and some statements have actually appeared. Secondly, we also know that when discussing such issues, such information is not usually published. And the third thing we know is that so far there are no agreements in this area," Peskov told reporters.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated that the US had made a significant proposal to Moscow in order to expedite the release of the two American citizens. He also stated that the US and Russian governments had engaged in frequent and direct communication over that proposal.
More on the prisoners and exchanges
Whelan, who holds citizenship in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Ireland, is serving his term in Russia after a Moscow court sentenced him to 16 years in jail on espionage charges in June 2020. Whelan was in Russia as an alleged tourist when he was arrested.
Brittney Griner, on the other hand, was detained at Moscow airport in February on charges of carrying vape cartridges with cannabis oil in her luggage, which has a possible 10-year sentence in prison.
Previously on July 8, Washington asked Moscow to recognize US mercenaries fighting in Ukraine as combatants, but there has been no further discussion on the issue, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said.
According to Ryabkov, Moscow and Washington must meet behind closed doors to arrange the exchange of detainees, including US basketball player Brittney Griner, Russian billionaire Viktor Bout, and Russian computer hacker Roman Seleznev.
Ryabkov at the time added that the visit of former US Ambassador Bill Richardson to Moscow in connection with the detention of US basketball player Brittney Griner in Russia is not currently being discussed, however, Richardson is not on the banned list and it is possible to meet with him as he seeks to handle the situation of his compatriots.