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Russia hints at prisoner exchange with US: ‘death arms dealer’ Viktor Bout for basketball star Brittney Grenier |  Abroad

Russia hints at prisoner exchange with US: ‘death arms dealer’ Viktor Bout for basketball star Brittney Grenier | Abroad

Russia is ready to release one or more American prisoners in exchange for Viktor Bout. This is a notorious Russian arms dealer, known as the “dealer of death”. It seems that the country wants to use American basketball star Brittney Griner as a bargaining chip. She is currently serving a one-year prison sentence in Russia for possession of a small amount of cannabis oil.


Last updated:
11-20-22, 10:32

Belga, Reuters, ANP

Victor Bolt He is a criminal with a proven track record. He is suspected of supplying weapons to the Taliban, Al Qaeda and possibly Iraq. Supplied rogue states, insurgents, and other shady groups in Africa, Asia, and South America.

For a long time he was one of the most wanted criminals in the world. He has been detained since 2008, first in Bangkok where he was arrested and from 2011 in the United States. There he was sentenced to 25 years in prison in 2012 for supplying weapons to the FARC rebel movement in Colombia.

Griner as a medium of exchange

In the same year, Moscow has already submitted a request for Bout’s extradition. That was rejected. Now Russia is trying again, likely with basketball star Brittney Grenier as a bargaining chip. The 32-year-old basketball star was arrested at a Moscow airport when she arrived there shortly before the invasion of Ukraine because she was to play for a Russian team between seasons of American basketball.

Brittney Griner. © Reuters

Filling with hemp oil

A cartridge of cannabis oil for an electronic cigarette was found in her luggage at Moscow airport. In August, she was sentenced to 9 years in prison and fined €17,000.

The basketball star said she had no intention of taking cannabis oil with her to Russia. She was going to accidentally put it in her bag. In the United States, Griner has used hemp oil for medical reasons. a A recent request for clemency by the United States was rejectedand then they go to A penal colony in Mordovia it’s been transferred.

Griner is one of the best basketball players in the world. She won gold twice in the Olympic Games and is also a major player in the WNBA, for the Phoenix Mercury.

The IK-2 penal colony at Javas in Mordovia, central Russia.  This is where Brittney Griner is locked up.

The IK-2 penal colony at Javas in Mordovia, central Russia. This is where Brittney Griner is locked up. © AFP

Paul Willen

In addition to Griner, American Paul Whelan will be part of the deal. He’s serving a 16-year prison sentence in Russia for espionage, but he’s always denied it. The former Marine was arrested in December 2018 on charges of receiving state secrets. He denies the allegations and says he was framed. Whelan says he was in Russia for a wedding and an acquaintance gave him a USB drive, thinking it contained vacation photos.

He told the Interfax news agency on Friday that Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov was already hoping to reach an agreement. “One of the people we’re talking about is Victor Bout,” he noted. “We expect a positive outcome,” he said.

Victor Bout after his arrest in Thailand in 2008.

Victor Bout after his arrest in Thailand in 2008. ©AP

Arms dealer Victor Bout had an impressive network until he was caught, all the way to the upper world. He even arranged transfers for the United Nations. That way he could supply weapons for war one day and fly over the blue helmets for a peace force the next.

Who is that Victor Bout more concretely? Why was he called the “dealer of death” and why did he buy a luxury villa in Ostend? You can read it in this comprehensive portrait of the man.


What is remarkable is that Minister Sergey Ryabkov speaks openly about the exchange of prisoners. Previously, the same names were repeatedly circulated in reports about a possible prisoner exchange between Russia and the United States, but until now, Moscow has demanded complete silence over the radio on such diplomatically sensitive issues. This makes Americans suspicious. “At the end of the day, actions speak louder than words,” a spokesman told reporters at the US State Department on Friday.

A day later, the US State Department also denied that there was currently “real activity” in talks with Russia over a prisoner exchange. “We do not comment on the specifics of the proposals, but we can say that the Russian government has consistently failed to negotiate in good faith.”

painting. Victor Bout, the Russian who sold weapons to every villain and did so too, is from Belgium (+)

‘It was the most annoying phone call ever. I cried for days’: Fears grow that year-old US basketball star Griner will not be released from Russian prison (+)

a look. Why was basketball phenomenon Brittney Grenier put in jail?

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