Trevor, a former U.S. Marine, is free from Russian detention.President Biden in a statement Wednesday announcing a prisoner exchange between the U.S. and Russia.
- Russia and the U.S. carried out a prisoner exchange after months of negotiations. Trevor Reed, an American imprisoned for nearly 3 years due to assaulting Russian authorities while intoxicated, was swapped for a convicted Russian drug trafficker who had been arrested in 2010.
- “Today, our prayers have been answered and Trevor is safely on his way back to the United States,” said the Reed family in a statement. The family has been advocating for Trevor Reed’s release and met with President Biden last month. Meanwhile, the Kremlin announced President Putin called Turkish President Erdogan to thank him for his role in arranging the prisoner exchange at the Ankara airport.
- The Associated Press notes that these types of exchanges are not usually carried out by the U.S. government due to fears that such actions “might encourage foreign governments to take additional Americans as prisoners as a way to extract concessions.” A senior official reported that it made sense in this case because the Russian detainee, Konstantin Yaroshenko, had already served 12 years of his 20-year sentence.
- Something to consider: Officials at the U.S. State Department said the exchange took months of planning, and began before Russia’s invasion in Ukraine; a senior U.S. administration official noted that “discussions with the Russians that led to this exchange were strictly limited to these topics, not a broader diplomatic conversation.” Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Maria Zakharova likewise said the exchange was “the result of a lengthy negotiation process.”
Why It Matters: Other U.S. citizens remain in Russian custody. Officials have reported that they are working to free Paul Whelan, also a former Marine. Brittney Griner, one of the top U.S. women’s basketball players, was detained in Russia in February. This week’s prisoner swap kindled “renewed optimism“ for her release, though no immediate impact of her case is known to the public.
Russia releases US Marine vet in surprise prisoner exchange (Associated Press)
by Jenna Lee,