Dec 9, 2022 - World

Putin: More prisoner swaps with U.S. "possible" after Griner-Bout exchange

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a ceremony.

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a ceremony in Moscow. Photo: Sergei Karpukhin/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday more U.S.-Russian prisoner swaps may occur if the two countries can continue to reach compromises, according to Russian state media.

Why it matters: The comments come one day after WNBA star Brittney Griner was exchanged for convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.

Driving the news: Putin said Friday that “everything is possible" when it comes to potential future prisoner exchanges, adding that “compromises have been found” that led to the Griner-for-Bout deal.

  • “We aren’t refusing to continue this work in the future,” Putin said.
  • Putin added the prisoner exchange did not include discussions on other issues between the two countries, but it did establish a chance for future deals, AP reports.
  • “Whether this could set stage for a dialogue with the U.S. is a separate issue,” he said. “We didn’t set the task to move from those talks to something else, but they do create a certain atmosphere."

Catch up quick: President Biden announced Thursday morning that Griner was in U.S. custody. She landed in the U.S. on Friday morning.

  • The exchange did not bring home former Marine Paul Whelan, an American currently detained in Russia. Biden said his administration was committed to continuing efforts to secure Whelan's release.
  • The U.S. had proposed deals to free both Griner and Whelan. However, Russia views Whelan as an alleged spy and rejected every proposal involving him, Axios' Dave Lawler writes.

What they're saying: Ned Price, spokesman for the State Department, told CNN Friday morning that he agreed with the Russian president's recent comments.

  • "It's not often we can say that we actually agree with something President Putin said, but today I can say that," Price told CNN. "President Putin himself has said that these discussions will continue. These discussions absolutely will continue."

Go deeper... How the Biden admin says Brittney Griner's release happened

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