The United States and Russia reached an agreement yesterday, for the first time in a long while, despite existing hostilities between them.
A prisoner swap agreement was reached by both sides yesterday, as American basketball star Brittney Griner was freed in exchange for a notorious Russian arms dealer, Viktor Bout. Jailed in Russia since February when she was arrested by authorities in Moscow for possession of cannabis oil, Griner’s release brings an end to Bout’s 12 years of incarceration. Tagged the “merchant of death”, Bout had been held in an American prison for 12 years, for selling arms to warlords and rogue governments.
Left in the cold While the swap has been hailed by some, including Griner’s wife, another American, Paul Whelan – also jailed in Russia – has expressed disappointment that his release was not secured. The former US Marine, who was detained on espionage charges in 2018, told CNN he was “disappointed” to remain in a Russian jail. President Biden, who acknowledged the deal [for Whelan] had come up short and vowed to continue negotiations, hailed the release of the 32-year-old Griner. “We have made one more family whole again”, Biden said.