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HomeWorldWatch: Russia and the US swap ex-Marine Trevor Reed for convicted drug trafficker Konstantin...

Watch: Russia and the US swap ex-Marine Trevor Reed for convicted drug trafficker Konstantin Yaroshenko in a prisoner exchange

The US and Russia on Wednesday exchanged prisoners amidst escalating tensions over the Ukraine crisis, trading a former Marine jailed by Moscow for a convicted Russian drug trafficker serving a long sentence in the United States.

American Trevor Reed, a former Marine who had been detained in Russia since 2019, was released in a prisoner swap arrangement between the two countries for Russian citizen Konstantin Yarashenko. 

The swapping of prisoners took place in Turkey, the dramatic video of which has now gone viral on the internet. In the video, officials from the two sides can be seen exchanging the prisoners. 

In the video, Reed is seen dressed in all black and escorted by a man who is carrying a large bag and a duffel bag, presumably of the former US Marine. Konstantin, on the other hand, a marginally bald man with stocky appearance, is seen dressed in a brown-coloured t-shirt and trousers and escorted by two men. 

The video reminded many of the film ’Bridge of Spies’, an adaptation of the prisoners exchange from the Cold War era when Francis Gary Powers—a U.S. Air Force pilot whose U-2 spy plane was shot down over the Soviet Union in 1960 was exchanged for Rudolf Abel, a convicted Soviet KGB spy detained by the United States.

The Russian foreign ministry issued a statement following the swapping of prisoners in Turkey. 

“As a result of a lengthy negotiations process, on April 27, 2022, US citizen Trevor Reed, previously convicted in the Russian Federation, was exchanged for Russian citizen Konstantin Yaroshenko, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison by an American court,” Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Telegram.

Reed was sentenced to nine years in prison by a Russian court on charges of allegedly attacking police officers while drunk. The Russian government also claimed that while being driven to the police station, Reed had allegedly grabbed the arm of a police officer, causing the car in which they were travelling to swerve, and hit another officer in his abdomen. 

Konstantin Yaroshenko, on the other hand, was arrested in Liberia in 2010 for smuggling drugs. He was then taken to the United States, where he was sentenced to 20 years in prison in September 2011.

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