Moscow and Washington will not be discussing a possible prisoner swap involving Paul Whelan – a former US marine, with a number of citizenships – convicted of espionage, in response to Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov.
Immediately after Whelan’s responsible verdict on June 15, consideration turned to the potential for a prisoner trade.
“People have mentioned some form of secret consultation, negotiations on this issue. I declare, with all responsibility, that this kind of discussion is not being held with the US,” Ryabkov stated.
Last month, a Moscow court docket convicted Whelan of spying in opposition to Russia and sentenced him to 16 years in jail. The holder of American, British, Canadian and Irish passports was arrested in December 2018 after he obtained a USB machine from an undercover FSB officer. According to Whelan, he was arrange and is totally harmless.
Following the previous Marine’s conviction, a press release signed by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated Washington is “outraged by the decision,” and referred to as for his “immediate release.”
Whelan’s lawyer has named two potential choices for a prisoner swap – Russian residents Viktor Bout and Konstantin Yaroshenko, who’re each serving time within the US. Bout obtained a 25-year sentence for his involvement in arms dealing, and is taken into account a political prisoner by the Kremlin.
Yaroshenko is an alleged drug smuggler, serving a 20-year time period. Moscow considers his arrest to be a “kidnapping.”
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