Russia, US Could Commerce Imprisoned Basketball Star for Russian ‘Service provider of Dying’
Presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin have ordered prisoner exchange talks, a topic that has come up regularly since the June 2021 summit in Geneva.
THE Russia confirmed this Thursday, 28, that it maintains negotiations with the United States for a prisoner exchange, but assured that there was still no deal, after Washington announced that it had presented a “consistent” offer to Moscow.
The negotiations “are carried out by the competent authorities. A concrete result has not yet been reached,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement.
“As there is no finalized agreement, we have nothing to add” on the matter, Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov told a news conference.
According to Zakharova, Presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin ordered prisoner exchange talks, a topic that has come up regularly since the June 2021 summit in Geneva.
US diplomacy chief Antony Blinken announced on Wednesday that he would speak “in the coming days” with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.
According to several US media, it would be about exchanging Victor Bout per Brittney Grinera basketball player currently on trial after being arrested in February for possession of marijuana upon arrival in Moscow, and Paul Whelan, who is serving a 16-year prison sentence in Russia for espionage.
Viktor Bout, a well-known Russian arms dealer, was arrested in Thailand in 2008 and is serving a 25-year prison sentence in the United States.
Nicknamed “Merchant of Death“, his extraordinary career inspired the film The Lord of the gunsstarring Nicolas Cage as a cynical arms dealer.
“We talk [na terça-feira] by phone and Victor [Bout] I didn’t know anything about the negotiations between Russia and the United States,” said the convict’s wife, Alla Bout, quoted by the agency Ria Novosti. Griner’s side is also unaware of a potential trade.
“Lawyers do not participate in negotiations. From a legal point of view, the exchange can only take place after the verdict. Anyway, we’ll be happy if Brittney [Griner] I can go home soon”, commented the lawyer Maria Blagovolina, on Telegram.
The 31-year-old WNBA player, who faces a ten-year prison sentence, will appear in court again on August 2. On Wednesday, Griner said she had no intention of bringing drugs, specifically cannabis, into Russia.
Several prisoner exchanges have taken place in the past. In April, former US Marine Trevor Reed, sentenced to nine years in prison in Russia for violence he himself denies, was exchanged for a Russian pilot, Konstantin Yaroshenko, imprisoned in the United States since 2010 for drug trafficking with the FARC. Colombian.