Russia releases American vet in prisoner trade
The United States announced Wednesday the exchange of Konstantin Yaroshenko, a convicted Russian drug trafficker, for Trevor Reed, a U.S. Marine veteran. Reed, 30, of Texas, was arrested in Moscow in the summer of 2019 for allegedly assaulting an officer while being driven to a police station following a night of heavy drinking. A judge sentenced him to nine years in prison. Reed’s family claims the judge refused to hear all the evidence, and the U.S. government said he was unjustly detained. Yaroshenko, 53, is a Russian pilot who was serving a 20-year federal prison sentence in Connecticut for conspiracy to smuggle cocaine into the U.S. after he was arrested in Liberia in 2010.
Why is the exchange happening now? The U.S. does not make exchanges often, in order to avoid releasing guilty prisoners or incentivizing kidnappings. But Reed’s family said his health was declining in prison with what looked like tuberculosis and asked President Joe Biden to start negotiations in March. An administration official said the exchange does not alter the United States’ condemnation of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Dig deeper: Listen to Kent Covington’s report in The World and Everything in It podcast for an update on American WNBA player Brittney Griner’s detention in Russia.
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