Russia releases former Marine Trevor Reed
Former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed, who has been detained in Russia since 2019, has been released, President Biden said Wednesday.
Why it matters: Reed had been sentenced to nine years in prison by a Moscow court in 2020 after being arrested for allegedly assaulting two police officers. His family and the U.S. government said the charges were false and politically motivated.
- He was released by Russia in exchange for Konstantin Yaroshenko, a Russian citizen serving a 20-year sentence after being found guilty of conspiracy to smuggle more than $100 million worth of cocaine into the U.S., Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said on Telegram.
What they're saying: "The negotiations that allowed us to bring Trevor home required difficult decisions that I do not take lightly," Biden said in a statement.
- "His safe return is a testament to the priority my Administration places on bringing home Americans held hostage and wrongfully detained abroad," the president added.
- "Today, our prayers have been answered and Trevor is safely on his way back to the United States," the Reed family said in a statement.
- "While we understand the interest in Trevor’s story — and as soon as he’s ready, he’ll tell his own story, we’d respectfully ask for some privacy while we address the myriad of health issues brought on by the squalid conditions he was subjected to in his Russian gulag."
The big picture: Reed was one of at least three high-profile cases of an American being held in Russian prisons.
- WNBA player Brittney Griner was detained in February on drug charges, and former Marine Paul Whelan, who was detained in December 2018 on spying charges, was sentenced to 16 years in prison in June 2020.
- The State Department in early March urged Americans to leave Russia "immediately" because of the country's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and later warned that the Russian government may be intentionally seeking out Americans for detention.
Editor's note: This article was corrected to reflect that Brittney Griner was detained in February (not March).