US Government Offers to Trade Prisoners with Russia

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken stated that the United States and Russia had “communicated repeatedly and directly on that proposal” as related to trading prisoners between the two countries at a news conference in Washington Wednesday.

Sec. Blinken said that the United States had “put a substantial proposal on the table weeks ago” in talks with Russia to a safe homecoming of two Americans: The basketball star, Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan, a former Marine and security company executive. A prisoner of the counterpart of the two Americans is Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer as a detainee in the US.

According to CNN, the person of a detainee in the US, Mr. Bout is serving a 25-year federal prison sentence for conspiring to sell weapons to the people who have planned to kill Americans. Russian officials have pressed for Mr. Bout’s case for years, and in recent weeks Russian media outlets had directly linked his case to Ms. Griner’s.

Ms. Griner was arrested at a Moscow airport on charges that she carried hashish oil in her luggage. She accidentally packed a small amount of the cannabis-related substance that she takes for her doctor-prescribed pain medication, but Russia has very strict drug laws. She pleaded guilty to the drug charges against her in mid-February.

Mr. Paul Whelan was detained at a Moscow hotel in 2019 and charged with espionage.

The Russian government’s intention regarding this trade is unknown in the midst of the war between Ukraine. The Biden administration got pressure from the citizens in the US who have asked to bring Americans who are abroad back to their homes in safety.

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