Russian businessman Viktor Bout “almost inevitably” will be exchanged for one of the American citizens convicted in the Russian Federation, the Russian lawyer Steve Zissu said in a commentary to TASS.
Victor Bout was accused of trying to sell a shipment of weapons to a Colombian terrorist group and sentenced to 25 years in prison. Earlier, Russia and the United States exchanged convicts – American student Trevor Reed for Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko.
According to Zissou, the United States is beginning to realize that, regardless of the credibility of the charges, Viktor Bout will soon be released, so it makes sense to exchange him for a US citizen serving a prison sentence in Russia. The lawyer is sure that such an exchange is “practically inevitable soon.”
Earlier, Viktor Bout’s wife, Alla Bout, sent a letter to the leadership of the Russian Foreign Ministry because of the sharp deterioration in her husband’s health and the unwillingness of the American authorities to provide him with qualified medical care.
A possible candidate for the exchange is a basketball player, two-time Olympic champion Brittney Greiner, who was detained in Russia for drug smuggling. The athlete was detained on February 18 at Sheremetyevo Airport on suspicion of trying to import banned substances into Russia. At the same time, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that so far there were no grounds for statements about readiness to exchange Greiner for Bout. In addition, the American side may offer to exchange Bout for its citizen Paul Whelan, who is serving time for espionage. At the same time, the Russian authorities consider Whelan to be a particularly dangerous criminal, a real spy, and so far they are not ready for his exchange.
Source From: MK