Russia, US dialogue on prisoner swap to be continued: Ryabkov
Russia and the United States will continue direct dialogue on the exchange of prisoners without any intermediaries”, says Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov.
A prisoner swap between American Basketball celebrity Britney Griner and Russian businessman Viktor Bout, who was serving a 25-year sentence in the US over alleged arms dealings, was concluded on Thursday.
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov commented on this issue by confirming that “Russia and the United States will continue direct dialogue on the exchange of prisoners without any intermediaries”.
Addressing the Valdai discussion club, Ryabkov added: "As for the specifics of the exchange, the conversation with the US was direct and it will continue in the same way, directly, without intermediaries, through a special channel determined by the presidents of Russia and the United States."
Elsewhere in his remarks, he noted that Russia does not have any specific names tied to any upcoming prisoner exchange lists.
"I have never said anything before about specific lists or some quantitative composition, and I do not intend to do this in the future. We want Russian citizens, who in many cases have received astounding sentences on far-fetched charges in the United States, to return to their homeland as soon as possible," Ryabkov concluded.
It is worth noting that the landmark swap has been categorically slammed by many as the worst trade in history, not only because Bout's charges were considered more offensive than Griner, but also because another US prisoner, Paul Whelan, was considered more worthy than Griner of being released.