U.S, Russia swap prisoners in Turkey
By News Center
The U.S. and Russia have exchanged prisoners in Turkey in cooperation with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Yeni Shafak newspaper has reported.
As tensions between Washington and Moscow escalated immensely due to the Ukraine war, a long-awaited prisoner exchange was made between the two countries.
Trevor Reed, a former US Marine Corps soldier who has been imprisoned in Russia since 2019, was exchanged for Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko, who was arrested in the US for cocaine smuggling.
Reed's father, Joey Reed, told CNN that he received a call from the U.S. Department of State and U.S. President Joe Biden, who informed him about his son.
“They had moved him to another prison. They had moved him to a Moscow prison this week. We didn't know that. He went to the same prison that I think Paul Whelan was held in for a long time, and then they flew him from there to Turkey. And then Trevor quickly told us that they - the American plane pulled up next to the Russian plane and they walked both prisoners across at the same time like you see in the movies,” Joey Reed said.
An American official, who made a statement to the American press and did not want his name to be disclosed, used the following statements about the exchange: “The swap took place in Turkey, in collaboration with the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in a carefully orchestrated series of moves pre-decided by Biden administration officials and Kremlin officials. Reed and Yaroshenko arrived in Turkey at almost the same time. Teams on both sides confirmed the identity of the other country's bidder, after which Yaroshenko and Reed walked the runway towards the planes.”
A senior U.S. official, who made a statement to reporters on the subject, said that the exchange took place as a result of months of negotiation.
The official noted that the negotiation took place only on this matter, and does not cover the wider relations between the two countries and does not mean that the tension between Washington and Moscow has eased.
U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan thanked Turkey for its role in the prisoner swap between the U.S. and Russia.
“As we welcome home Trevor Reed, we are grateful to Turkey for its role in making his safe return possible. We appreciate our Turkish partners’ assistance in this important matter,” Sullivan stressed.
Reed was arrested on August 15, 2019, after a brawl with the police in Russia, and was subsequently sentenced to nine years in prison for "endangering the life and health of Russian police officers".
Yaroshenko, a civilian pilot, was charged with trying to smuggle cocaine from Liberia to the United States and Europe in 2011 and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.