For the first time since WNBA star Brittney Griner’s arrest for drug possession in February, Russia has officially confirmed there are ongoing negotiations with the United States government regarding a potential prisoner swap. On Saturday, The Moscow Times reported Russia has officially acknowledged it seeks convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout to be a part of the deal.
“The discussions on the very sensitive topic of an exchange are proceeding via the channels chosen by our presidents,” said Alexander Datchiev, head of the North America department at the Russian Foreign Ministry, according to the Russian state-owned news agency TASS. “Silent diplomacy continues and should bear fruit if Washington, of course, is careful not to fall into propaganda.”
Bout, also known as “The Merchant of Death,” was arrested in Thailand in 2008 and then extradited to the United States. He was convicted of conspiring to kill Americans in 2011 and is currently serving a 25-year prison sentence.
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