Video shows US and Russia swap prisoners Trevor Reed and Konstantin Yaroshenko

The US has handed Russia a drug smuggler in trade for an ex-Marine as a part of a prisoner swap. Watch the second unfold.

The second Russia and the United States made a prisoner swap has been captured on video in what has been described as like a scene out of a film.

Moscow handed over ex-Marine Trevor Reed, a 30-year-old from Texas who was jailed in Russia in 2020, in trade for Konstantin Yaroshenko, a 53-year-old convicted drug smuggling pilot who had been serving a 20-year sentence within the US since 2011.

The video footage, taken on Wednesday native time and aired on Russian state tv, confirmed two planes at an airport in Turkey.

Yaroshenko is first seen strolling down the steps hooked up to one of many planes alongside two males in fits believed to be US officers.

They then meet what would seem like Russian officers within the centre of the runway, as Reed walks previous accompanied by a guard and enters the airplane that Yaroshenko simply exited.

Two males in fits could possibly be seen shaking arms whereas Yaroshenko waited to the aspect.

“Real bridge of spies Cold War vibes,” Financial Times Moscow bureau chief Max Seddon wrote on Twitter, alongside the video.

Steven Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies is a 2015 movie, the place an American lawyer helps the CIA facilitate the trade of a Soviet spy for a Soviet-captured American U-2 spy airplane pilot, Francis Gary Powers, throughout the Cold War.

Russian overseas ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stated the trade was carried out on Wednesday after “a lengthy negotiations process”.

State tv additionally confirmed footage of Reed speaking to guards in Russian as he left his penal colony and was escorted onto a airplane at Moscow’s Vnukovo airport by males in navy uniform.

Trevor Reed’s time in Russian jail

Reed was sentenced to 9 years in jail by a Russian court docket in July 2020 after allegedly attacking law enforcement officials whereas drunk.

As he was being pushed to a police station, he allegedly grabbed the arm of a police officer, inflicting the automobile to swerve, and elbowed one other officer within the stomach.

Reed pleaded not responsible to the costs, saying he remembers nothing of the incident.

While imprisoned in a penal colony in Russia’s Mordovia Republic, some 500 kilometres southeast of Moscow, Reed staged a starvation strike over what he stated was a violation of his rights.

Trevor Reed’s father, Joey Reed, informed CNN that Trevor was moved to a Moscow jail this week after which flown to Turkey the place the swap came about.

In an announcement, Reed’s household requested for privateness whereas their son addresses well being points “brought on by the squalid conditions he was subjected to in his Russian gulag”.

US President Joe Biden stated in an announcement the swap required “difficult decisions that I do not take lightly”.

“His safe return is a testament to the priority my administration places on bringing home Americans held hostage and wrongfully detained abroad,” he added.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken additionally praised the trade.

“I am pleased to announce the release of US citizen Trevor Reed, who was wrongfully detained in Russia,” he stated in an announcement.

“We also remain committed to securing the freedom of all US nationals wrongfully detained abroad,” he added.

Reed’s lawyer Sergei Nikitenkov informed the Interfax information company Wednesday that his shopper didn’t ask for a pardon.

“He agrees with the fact of the exchange, approves it, but at the same time Trevor does not admit his guilt,” he stated.

Konstantin Yaroshenko’s emotional reunion

Russian tv in the meantime reported that Yaroshenko had already arrived again within the nation, exhibiting him in an emotional reunion along with his spouse Victoria and their daughter Ekaterina at a Moscow airport.

The pilot was arrested in Liberia in 2010 for drug trafficking, then transferred to the United States, the place he was sentenced to twenty years in jail in September 2011.

Yaroshenko’s lawyer Alexei Tarasov informed the RIA Novosti state information company: “I would call this an Easter miracle,” referring to Orthodox Easter.

He stated the swap “had been in the works for a very long while”.

The Russian’s well being “leaves much to be desired”, the lawyer informed state information company TASS.

In June 2021, Yaroshenko’s household despatched a letter to Biden requesting a pardon for the jailed pilot.

An trade of prisoners was on the agenda final June throughout a summit between Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva.

At the time, Putin hinted that Reed’s case could possibly be resolved shortly, calling him a “drunk and a troublemaker”.

Another US citizen, Paul Whelan, a former safety official at a automobile components firm, stays in a Russian jail serving 16 years on espionage prices.

Biden referred to his case in an announcement, saying: “We won’t stop until Paul Whelan and others join Trevor in the loving arms of family and friends.”

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