Russia Frees U.S. Ex-Marine In Prisoner Swap
By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy Nees
MOSCOW/WASHINGTON (Worthy News) – U.S President Joe Biden says Russia has freed former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed from detention on what Moscow confirmed was a prisoner swap to secure the return of its pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko.
Reed, 30, was sentenced in 2020 to nine years imprisonment on what he said were trumped-up espionage charges. Yaroshenko had been jailed on U.S. drug charges.
The prisoner exchange comes despite the worst East-West tensions in decades over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Trevor, a former U.S. Marine, is free from Russian detention,” President Biden said in a statement. “I heard in the voices of Trevor’s parents how much they’ve worried about his health and missed his presence. And I was delighted to be able to share with them the good news about Trevor’s freedom.”
However, the exchange came after Reed’s family had increasingly expressed concern about his health while he was in detention.
Footage aired on Wednesday by Russian state-run television showed what appeared to be a visibly haggard Reed being escorted to a Russian plane at the Vnukovo airport in Moscow. Reed’s father, Joey, said his son had been flown to Turkey, where the exchange took place.
OTHERS REMAIN JAILED
Other Americans remain in detention in Russia, including Paul Whelan, who was sentenced in 2020 to 16 years in prison on espionage charges during closer a trial.
And another American staying behind is Brittney Griner, a basketball star arrested in mid-February on drug charges that could carry a sentence of up to 10 years.
The exchange meant freedom for Russian pilot Yaroshenko, 53, detained in Liberia in 2010.
He was brought to the United States, where he was convicted the following year of smuggling cocaine in his planes to destinations in South America, Africa, and Europe. He was sentenced to 20 years.
The prisoner swap raised hopes that Washington and Moscow keep talking despite the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
It was not immediately clear if and when more releases of prisoners were planned.
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