The U.S. and Russian on Wednesday announced a prisoner swap between former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed — jailed in Russia since 2019 — and Russian citizen Konstantin Yaroshenko, who had been serving out a 20-year sentence in the U.S. on drug charges.
A senior administration official later confirmed that Biden commuted Yaroshenko’s sentence in exchange for Reed’s release, but noted that the Russian citizen had already served out the majority of his sentence in federal prison for cocaine smuggling.
Yaroshenko was sentenced in 2011 in the Southern District of New York. The White House said the exchange took place in Turkey.
Celebratory: Biden, who met with Trevor Reed’s parents, Joey and Paula Reed, at the White House last month, issued a statement Wednesday morning celebrating his release.
“Today, we welcome home Trevor Reed and celebrate his return to the family that missed him dearly. Trevor, a former U.S. Marine, is free from Russian detention. I heard in the voices of Trevor’s parents how much they’ve worried about his health and missed his presence. And I was delighted to be able to share with them the good news about Trevor’s freedom,” Biden said.
Difficult decisions: Biden added: “The negotiations that allowed us to bring Trevor home required difficult decisions that I do not take lightly. His safe return is a testament to the priority my Administration places on bringing home Americans held hostage and wrongfully detained abroad. We won’t stop until Paul Whelan and others join Trevor in the loving arms of family and friends.”
A major development: The news came amid Russia’s war in Ukraine, which has dramatically escalated tensions and frayed relations between the U.S. and Russia.
The senior administration official said that the negotiations for Reed’s release were limited and not part of a broader diplomatic engagement with Russia. A second official said that the development would in no way change the U.S. approach to imposing costs on Russia for the two-month war in Ukraine.
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