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Russia releases former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed in prisoner exchange



Russia has launched former Marine Trevor Reed in a prisoner exchange with the U.S., his household and officers stated Wednesday.

“Today, our prayers have been answered and Trevor is safely on his way back to the United States,” his mother and father, Joey and Paula, and his sister, Taylor, stated in a press release.

They added Reed will “tell his own story” when he’s prepared earlier than asking for privateness to handle “the myriad of health issues brought on by the squalid conditions he was subjected to in his Russian gulag.”  

The exchange between Russia and the U.S. unfolded Wednesday, buying and selling Reed, who was jailed in Moscow, for convicted Russian drug trafficker Konstantin Yaroshenko, who was sentenced to twenty years in jail in the U.S. in 2010. 

The swap occurred “as a result of a long negotiation process,” Maria Zakharova, a spokesperson for Russia’s Ministry of International Affairs, stated on her verified Telegram channel. 

The shock deal would have been a notable diplomatic maneuver even in occasions of peace, nevertheless it was all of the extra extraordinary as a result of it was executed as Russia’s warfare with Ukraine has pushed relations with the U.S. to their lowest level in a long time.

“Today, we welcome home Trevor Reed and celebrate his return to the family that missed him dearly,” President Joe Biden stated in a press release Wednesday morning.

Biden famous it wasn’t a simple effort to convey Reed residence. 

“The negotiations that allowed us to bring Trevor home required difficult decisions that I do not take lightly,” he said. “His safe return is a testament to the priority my Administration places on bringing home Americans held hostage and wrongfully detained abroad.”

Biden praised the work of Particular Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs Roger Carstens and U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation John Sullivan for his or her work in serving to Reed return. 

Reed was arrested in the summer time of 2019 after Russian authorities stated he assaulted an officer whereas being pushed to a police station following an evening of heavy ingesting. Reed was later sentenced to 9 years in jail, although his household has maintained his innocence and the U.S. authorities has described him as unjustly detained.

Yaroshenko, a Russian pilot, was arrested in Liberia in 2010 and extradited to the U.S. earlier than he was in the end sentenced for conspiracy to smuggle cocaine.

Russia had sought his return for years whereas additionally rejecting entreaties by high-level U.S. officers to launch Reed, who was nearing his 1,000th day in custody and whose well being had lately been worsening, in keeping with his household.

The 2 prisoners have been swapped in a European nation. Officers didn’t say the place the switch occurred. Nonetheless, hours earlier than the swap, industrial flight trackers recognized a airplane belonging to Russia’s federal safety service as flying to Ankara, Turkey.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons additionally up to date its web site in a single day to mirror that Yaroshenko was now not in custody.

The prisoner swap marks the highest-profile launch throughout the Biden administration of an American deemed wrongly detained overseas and comes at the same time as households of detainees who’ve met over the past yr with administration officers had described them as cool to the thought of an exchange.

Of their assertion, the Reed household thanked Biden “for making the decision to bring Trevor home” in addition to different administration officers and Invoice Richardson, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations whom the household stated traveled to Moscow in the hours earlier than the Ukraine warfare started in hopes of securing Reed’s launch.

Reed was one in all a number of Individuals identified to be held by Russia, together with WNBA star Brittney Griner, who was detained in February after authorities stated a search of her bag revealed a hashish spinoff, and Michigan company safety govt Paul Whelan, who’s being held on espionage-related costs his household says are bogus. It was unclear what if any influence Wednesday’s motion may need on their instances.

In Biden’s assertion, he talked about the continued effort to convey Whelan residence.

“We won’t stop until Paul Whelan and others join Trevor in the loving arms of family and friends,” he stated.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken additionally applauded Reed’s launch, sustaining he was “wrongfully detained in Russia.”

“We welcome this important release, while continuing to call for the release of wrongfully detained U.S. citizen Paul Whelan,” Blinken said. “We also remain committed to securing the freedom of all U.S. nationals wrongfully detained abroad.”

Paul Whelan’s twin, David, questioned when freedom will come for their family, noting his brother has served over three years in Russian custody.

“Our family is full of happiness for the Reeds. … It’s the event that we hope for so much in our own lives,” David Whelan stated in a press release to NBC Information. “Trevor is free. Paul stays a hostage. You possibly can think about that in the present day is one in all diversified feelings in our household.”

He added time is not on his brother’s side.

“Our mother and father are actually not getting any youthful. Our hope stays that Paul can be residence so they might see him as soon as extra. However every day that hope dims,” he continued.

“On this present day when my twin brother continues to endure a gross injustice in Russia and one other American is free of injustice, I’m assured President Biden cares and his group is making an effort. Sadly, that wasn’t sufficient for Paul.”

Reed’s parents scored a rare private meeting with Biden and administration officials last month.

Joey and Paula Reed said on MSNBC that they floated the idea of a prisoner exchange to bring Reed home during a meeting with Biden on March 31.

“He doesn’t want to get our hopes up. But he did,” Joey Reed said of Biden to host Hallie Jackson after the meeting. “The fact that he listened to us, and that has to have influenced him, and we’re hoping that’ll be to bring our son and the other Americans home.”

Reed has always maintained his innocence, refusing to admit guilt during closing arguments of his Russian trial in 2020.

“I think it would be unethical and immoral to plead guilty to a crime I didn’t commit,” he stated on the eve of the trial’s verdict. “If I am going to be given a prison sentence, I’d rather stay in prison than walk free tomorrow a liar and a coward.”



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