Russia wants a prisoner swap with the US

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By Creative Media News

Russia is hopeful that it will be able to negotiate a prisoner swap with the United States that includes the notorious arms dealer Viktor Bout, also known as the Merchant of Death.

It is the first time that US or Russian officials have publicly stated that Bout could be included in an exchange.

Friday, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov expressed optimism that the likelihood of a swap had “increased.”

The United States has stated in the past that it is eager to arrange a prisoner swap for the release of basketball player Brittney Griner.

Russia wants a prisoner swap with the us
Russia wants a prisoner swap with the us

In August, she was convicted of drug possession after cannabis oil vapes were discovered in her luggage as she attempted to enter Russia.

The double Olympic champion has been sent to a remote penal colony southeast of Moscow.

Mr. Ryabkov stated on Friday that a “common denominator” had not yet been reached between the United States and Russia, but that “it is undeniable that Viktor Bout is among those being discussed [for exchange] and we certainly anticipate a positive outcome”.

Additionally, he stated that Bout had been “persecuted” in the United States and wished him “firmness of will and spirit” to endure his imprisonment.

Bout, a former Soviet air force officer, was extradited from Thailand to the United States in 2010, following a Drug Enforcement Administration sting operation (DEA).

Russia hopeful for arms dealer
Russia wants a prisoner swap with the us

As one of the most notorious arms dealers in the world, his exploits inspired a Hollywood film and led to his nickname.

After being found guilty of conspiring to kill Americans and US officials, delivering anti-aircraft missiles, and aiding a terrorist organization, he was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

He asserted that he was merely an entrepreneur with a legitimate international transport business who was falsely accused of attempting to arm South American rebels as a result of US political maneuvering.

However, a New York jury did not believe his story.

Some analysts speculate that Bout’s ties to Russian military intelligence may be the reason Russia wants him returned.

Mark Galeotti, an expert on Russian security services at the Royal United Services Institute, told Reuters that Bout’s case has become “iconographic” for Russian intelligence, which is eager to demonstrate that it does not abandon its people.

According to U.S. media reports, Russia was interested in exchanging the arms dealer for basketball star Brittney Griner.

In July, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated that Russia had made a “substantial offer” to repatriate two American detainees.

In February, Griner was arrested at an airport near Moscow after cannabis oil vapes were discovered in her luggage.

She claimed that she had made an “honest mistake,” but she lost her appeal against the conviction in early November, and it was unclear where she had been sent to serve her nine-year sentence for some time.

Her attorneys confirmed earlier this week that she is being held in the remote village of Yavas in Mordovia, 500 kilometers (310 miles) southeast of the capital.

There have also been reports that another American detainee, Paul Whelan, could be included in a potential prisoner swap.

The former US marine has been serving time in a Russian labor camp after being convicted of being an American spy.

In his first interview since his arrest, Mr. Whelan described his incarceration as “extremely miserable.”

Mr. Whelan, who is also a citizen of the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Canada, has always maintained his innocence.

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