US President Joe Biden’s administration has received a “perfidious” response from Russian authorities over a prisoner swap proposal, Washington said. “A counter offer was made, which we do not consider as serious,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said at a briefing on Monday, August 1, answering a question about receiving a response from Moscow to the corresponding US request.
She called it “quite obvious” that the United States would not negotiate from those positions, and declined to provide specific details. The spokeswoman also stressed that the White House “takes very seriously” the need to return American basketball player Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan, convicted of espionage, BorgWarner security director Paul Whelan to the United States. “We want them to come home,” said Jean-Pierre.
U.S. offer to trade Greiner and Whelan for Viktor Bout
According to media reports, the US administration offers the Russian Federation to exchange two Americans held in Russia – Olympic champion Brittney Griner accused of drug smuggling and convicted of espionage ex-Marine Paul Whelan – for a citizen of the Russian Federation Viktor Bout, who is serving a term in the United States for arms trafficking. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said on July 27 that a few weeks ago the White House presented Moscow with a “meaningful proposal” on Whelan and Greiner.
Meanwhile, CNN reported on July 29 that Moscow had asked the United States add one more Russian to the deal on the exchange of Griner and Whelan for Bout – Vadim Krasikov, who was convicted in Germany of the murder of former Chechen field commander Zelimkhan Khangoshvili in Berlin. According to him, the Russian Federation transmitted this proposal through unofficial channels of the FSB, and the United States considered it “problematic”, but sent a request to the Federal Republic of Germany.
Bout and Krasikov cases
Moscow has been demanding extradition for many years former Soviet officer Viktor Boutwho in 2012 was found guilty of conspiring to kill Americans and US officials, attempting to purchase and sell missiles and supporting terrorism through cooperation with the Colombian group “Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia” and sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Russian Vadim Krasikov, who traveled with a fake passport in the name of Vadim Sokolov, killed Zelimkhan Khangoshvili in the Small Tiergarten park in Berlin and was soon arrested by the German police. He was sentenced to life imprisonmentand the prosecution indicated that the murder was committed for political reasons on order of Russian government departments. Khangoshvili fought against the Russian army in the second Chechen war in 2000-2004 and Moscow viewed him as an enemy. After the assassination, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that he was the organizer of the explosions in the Moscow metro, but did not provide any evidence.