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The prisoner exchange was unusual because it unfolded as Russia's war with Ukraine has driven U.S.-Russia relations to their lowest point in decades.

US Marine vet returned from Russia as part of prisoner exchange

Apr 27, 2022


A U.S. Marine has been released as part of a prisoner exchange between Russia and the United States. Trevor Reed had been jailed for nearly three years in a Russian prison. The Marine veteran was swapped for a convicted Russian drug trafficker serving a long prison sentence in America, both countries announced Wednesday.

The surprise deal would have been a notable diplomatic maneuver even in times of peace, but it was all the more unusual because it was done as Russia’s war with Ukraine has driven Russian relations with the U.S. to their lowest point in decades.

“Today, our prayers have been answered and Trevor is on his way back safely to the United States,” Reed’s family said in a statement.

“While we understand the interest in Trevor’s story – and as soon as he’s ready, he’ll tell his own story, we’d respectfully ask for some privacy while we address the myriad of health issues brought on by the squalid conditions he was subjected to in his Russian gulag,” the family said.

Reed’s parents said in March he had gone on hunger strike to protest against being put in solitary confinement, and he had not been receiving proper medical care despite fears that he had tuberculosis.

U.S. President Joe Biden, in a statement, welcomed Reed’s release from detention in Russia.

The U.S. agreed to return Konstantin Yaroshenko, a Russian pilot 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 and extradited to the U.S. Yaroshenko is expected to arrive back in Russia shortly, his wife told TASS news agency.

Multiple other Americans still remain jailed in Russia, including WNBA star Brittney Griner and Michigan corporate security executive Paul Whelan.

Reed was arrested in the summer of 2019 after Russian authorities said he assaulted an officer while being driven by police to a police station following a night of heavy drinking. He was later sentenced to nine years in prison, though his family has maintained his innocence and the U.S. government described him as unjustly detained and expressed concern about his declining health.