Interests of both parties must be taken into account when discussing a possible exchange, according to Moscow
So far, there have been no tangible results in prisoner swap talks with the United States, the Kremlin and the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
The comments were made in response to a claim by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who said Wednesday that Washington had made a “substantial offer” in Moscow several weeks ago to secure the release of basketball star Brittney Griner, who is currently on trial for drug trafficking in Russia, and Paul Whelan, who is jailed for espionage.
According to CNN sources, the Biden administration suggested swapping the two Americans for Russian businessman Viktor Bout, who had been sentenced to 25 years in the United States on arms smuggling charges that had later used against US troops.
“What we know is that so far there have been no agreements in this area,” he added. said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
He admitted that Moscow was aware of “reports and statements” on a possible exchange of prisoners, but added that “when these issues are discussed, such information leaks do not occur.” The public is only informed “agreements already fulfilled”, he underlined.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova also said the talks were being led by “the ministries concerned”.
“No concrete results have yet been achieved,” she concluded, adding that Moscow believes that “the interests of both parties must be taken into account” when negotiating these issues.
In April, Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko, who spent around 12 years in a US prison for drug trafficking, was traded for former US Marine Trevor Reed, who was serving a nine-year sentence in Russia for assaulting police officers blind drunk. .
The exchange became possible after a “a long process of negotiation” according to Russian diplomats.