The United States offered to exchange the convict for 25 years for arms trafficking Viktor Bout for basketball player Britney Griner and suspected spy Paul Whelan.
After several months of internal discussions, the Biden administration offered the Kremlin to exchange Russian citizen Viktor Bout, who is serving a 25-year sentence in an American prison for arms smuggling , for two Americans – basketball player Britney Griner and Paul Whelan, who is serving a 16-year sentence in Russia on suspicion of espionage. This is reported by CNN, citing sources.
Secretary of State Anthony Blinken announced the day before that the United States sent Moscow a few weeks ago a proposal regarding Whelan and Griner, who the United States considers wrongfully detained.
President Joe Biden is directly involved in the discussion of this issue. But the name of Viktor Bout, a Russian convicted in the United States for arms trafficking, is not directly named.
According to a senior American official from the US presidential administration, Moscow did not respond to such an offer in June, because “it takes two to tango “.
Relatives of Paul Whelan, who has been detained in Russia on suspicion since 2018, and WNBA star Brittney Griner, who was detained by the Russians in February on suspicion of drug possession, are calling on the White House to secure their release, incl. by exchanging prisoners, if necessary.
Greiner pleaded guilty, claiming she unintentionally brought cannabis into Russia. She faces 10 years in prison.
Viktor Bout was detained in Bangkok in March 2008 as a result of an operation by US intelligence agencies and subsequently extradited to the United States , where he was accused of illegal arms supplies to Afghanistan, Angola, Liberia, Rwanda and other countries. Subsequently, the court sentenced him to 25 years in prison.
According to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, there are no agreements on the exchange yet. The Kremlin also warned that negotiations on a possible prisoner exchange with the United States should proceed quietly. Peskov said that usually the public learns about such news after reaching agreements.