Russian government officials have asked to include a former spy accused of murder in Germany last year in a prisoner exchange with the United States. The US is pushing for a prisoner exchange with Russia.
Yesterday, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken spoke with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov for the first time since the war in Ukraine began. Blinken also pushed for the possible release of American basketball player Brittney Griner and former Marine Paul Whelan, who are imprisoned in Russia.
Washington has yet to release details on the nature of the offer and has not discussed prisoner transfers, reports said CNN. According to Blinken, the conversation was honest and direct. Russian media previously reported that the trade was underway for Griner and prominent Russian arms dealer Viktor Bode. Bode was arrested in Thailand in 2008 and is serving a 25-year sentence in the United States.
According to CNN, the Russians have already made a formal request for Vadim Krazykov’s release earlier this month. He was sentenced to life in prison in December for the 2019 murder of Chechen-born Georgian man Selimkhan ‘Tornik’ Kongoshvili in Berlin’s Kleiner Tiergarten. Moscow refuses.
Lavrov said after the talks that he wanted to return to what he called “quiet diplomacy”. The two ministers also discussed the war in Ukraine. According to Blinken, he has made it clear to Lavrov that the world will never recognize Russia’s annexation of Ukrainian territory. He added that the world expects Russia to comply with the agreement on the export of Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea.
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