Russia, US strike prisoner exchange deal
Russia and the United States have struck a deal to exchange nationals imprisoned in the other country following lengthy negotiations, and the prisoners are set to make it to their countries today.
Moscow and Washington have exchanged prisoners, namely Russian national Konstantin Yaroshenko, who is serving a 20-year sentence in the United States, for former US Marine Trevor Reed, who had been sentenced to nine years in prison in Russia. The two nations reached an agreement following lengthy discussions on Wednesday, the Russian foreign ministry announced.
"As a result of a lengthy negotiation process, on April 27, 2022, US citizen Trevor... Reed, previously convicted in Russia, was exchanged for Russian citizen Konstantin Yaroshenko, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison by a US court in 2010," the ministry told reporters.
Following the news that Yaroshenko had been swapped for Reed, US President Joe Biden said he would not stop working to bring Paul Whelan and others home.
"The negotiations that allowed us to bring Trevor home required difficult decisions that I do not take lightly. His safe return is a testament to the priority my Administration places on bringing home Americans held hostage and wrongfully detained abroad," Biden said.
He also claimed that his administration "won't stop until Paul Whelan and others join Trevor in the loving arms of family and friends."
Yaroshenko's wife, Victoria, confirmed to Sputnik on Wednesday that he had been exchanged for the former US marine, adding that she had been informed of the exchange, and she will be meeting her husband at the airport when he arrives in Moscow.
She noted that she was informed of the exchange in advance, reporting that it took place in Turkey and that she would meet him at the airport later in the day.
Reed was taken to Vnukovo airport in Moscow and flown to the United States, Rossiya 24 broadcaster reported Wednesday, and his lawyer, Sergey Nikitenkov, told Sputnik the exchange was a positive development in Reed's case, though he did decline to provide further details on the matter.
"It is clear that there is a positive dynamic in the course of this case. We welcome this dynamic. There is no doubt that it happened, that there the discussion led to a positive result. The implementation of this process is carried out by the special services, so I am not yet authorized to say more," Nikitenkov said.
Reed was sentenced in 2020 to 9 years in prison for using violence against police officers in Russia. The US national was also ordered to pay 100 thousand rubles to each law enforcement officer as compensation.