Washington DC: Russia and the United States have carried out an unexpected prisoner exchange in a time of high tensions, trading on Wednesday a Marine veteran Trevor Reed jailed by Moscow for a convicted Russian pilot serving a long prison sentence in America.
The swap, the culmination of longstanding requests by both countries as well as private diplomatic wrangling, took place in Turkey when “the two planes pulled up side by side, essentially, and then they got out,” said Reed’s father, Joey. “I think it’s going to really hit home for him and for us when we finally get to see him and touch him,” he said in an interview with The Associated Press.
Trevor Reed, a 30-year-old former Marine from Texas, 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 the U.S. government has described him as unjustly detained and pressed for his release while his family has asserted his innocence and expressed concerns about his deteriorating health — which included coughing up blood and a hunger strike.
The US in exchange released Konstantin Yaroshenko, a Russian pilot who’d been serving a 20-year federal sentence for conspiring to smuggle cocaine into the U.S.