Russia says it expects "positive result" in Griner prisoner swap talks
The Kremlin aims to secure the release of convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout in any prisoner swap with the U.S., a senior Russian official told the news agency Interfax on Friday.
Why it matters: The Biden administration has said the two countries have been in talks about a potential deal to bring home two "wrongfully detained" American citizens in Russia: WBNA star Brittney Griner and Marine Paul Whelan.
Catch up quick: Bout was one of the most wanted men in the world for his arms trafficking over two decades, Reuters reports.
- Bout was arrested in a sting operation in 2008 and convicted in a U.S. court in 2012 for supplying weapons to a terrorist organization and conspiring to kill Americans. He is currently serving a 25-year prison sentence.
What they're saying: "I want to hope that the prospect not only remains but is being strengthened, and that the moment will come when we will get a concrete agreement," said Sergei Ryabkov, Russia's deputy foreign minister, per Interfax.
- "The Americans demonstrate some external activity, we work professionally on a special channel designed for this," Ryabkov said.
- "So far, we have not come to a common denominator, but it is indisputable that Viktor Bout is among those who are being discussed, and we certainly expect a positive result."
Flashback: The Biden administration said in July said the U.S. made a "substantial proposal" to bring home Griner and Whelan.
- At the time, Russia indicated its interest in including Bout in a potential prisoner swap involving Griner and Whelan, but no deal was reached.
Go deeper... Brittany Griner: What the WNBA star could face in a Russian penal colony