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Russia releases US Marine vet in surprise prisoner exchange

Trevor Reed
Posted at 2:45 PM, Apr 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-28 01:34:57-04

WASHINGTON — Russia and the United States have exchanged prisoners.

Russia released a Marine veteran jailed by Moscow while the U.S. released a convicted Russian drug trafficker serving a prison sentence in Connecticut.

Wednesday's exchange occurred as Russia’s war with Ukraine has driven relations with the U.S. to their lowest point in decades. Russia gave up Trevor Reed, a Texas resident arrested in 2019 after Russian authorities said he assaulted an officer.

The U.S. returns Konstantin Yaroshenko, a Russian pilot who'd been serving 20 years for conspiracy to smuggle cocaine into the U.S.

President Joe Biden says negotiations for Reed's release “required difficult decisions.”

Americans still jailed in Russia include Phoenix Mercury star Brittney Griner.

Griner was arrested in Russia sometime in February after she was reportedly found with vaping cartridges containing cannabis oil.

After her arrest, a report from The New York Times stated Griner was taken into custody during the investigation and "a criminal case has been opened into the large-scale transportation of drugs, which can carry a sentence of up to 10 years behind bars in Russia."

According to CNN and Newsweek, news agency TASS reported the Khimki City Court ruled Griner would be detained until at least May 19.