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Let’s Explore: How Many US Prisoners In Russia?

Brittney Griner behind the bars
Credit: Alexander Zemlianichenko/Pool via REUTER

Washington DC (Transatlantic Today) — The United States is ready to make a ‘substantial proposal’ to Russia. Many US prisoners are held captive in Russia. Some government officials are going for a prisoner swap which allows them to have some of them released. This proposal was made a few weeks ago in June itself. However, nothing concrete has come out of it. The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will discuss the future and talk about more details regarding this deal. It is expected that they will raise these issues again with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Russia Holds Many US Prisoners

Russia is holding many prisoners from the USA. The news of a possible prisoner swap is doing the rounds for some time. One of the travelers arriving in Russia carried cannabis oil in her luggage. She testified in court regarding this issue but was arrested.

It seems that Russia is holding onto the US people without any reason. Griner will be facing at least 10 years in prison. If she is convicted of taking drugs to Russia, she may have to come up with an explanation. For now, she is detained until December 20.

A former US Marine, Whelan is currently imprisoned in Russia since 2018. He and his family are pleading White House to make some efforts for their release. For many years in a row, Russia is not ready to negotiate the release of an arms dealer. He is popularly known as the ‘Merchant of Death. Many didn’t know that he is sentenced to 25 years in prison for bringing drugs to Russia illegally.

Read More: US Sanctions Companies Over North Korea Fuel Supplies

There is a possibility of a prisoner swap that is approved by US president Joe Biden. If this isn’t enough, the opposition from the Department of Justice is making things difficult. They seem to be in fear when it comes to the trade of prisoners. Whether the prisoner swap deal becomes successful or not, is yet to be seen.

Sensitive Diplomatic Issues

The prisoners from America are in a bad situation. They are held captive by the enemies of the US which are making things troublesome for them. It seems that Washington is still holding on to the release of prisoners due to political pressure and disputes. The Government is bound to use this situation for its benefit.

Many prisoners like Griner don’t have many options to choose from. They are trapped in such a country where innocent civilians are in a tough situation. The former CIA chief of Russia, Steve Hall claims: “Really what’s happened to Brittney Griner – she’s been kidnapped and she’s being held now in exchange for something that Putin wants’’.

According to Steve, he is not sure how the negotiations from the US will be viewed by Russia. It is not only Russia but North Korea is following the same path. They will just try to nab some Americans. Whether they are business people, tourists, or a professional like Griner. Russia can bargain in any way they want and can be an unexpected turn of events.

It doesn’t seem Russia is easy to get convinced. They may demand a higher price for the high profile prisoners. Moscow will try to extract the best out of Viktor Bout who is a Russian arms dealer who is in US jail.

Read More: Russian Court Sets Griner’s Appeal Date

10 Imprisoned Foreign Fighters Are Released

Ten prisoners of the war that includes Americans are released by the Russian army. They are transferred from Saudi Arabia due to the exchange between Russia and Ukraine. The list of released prisoners includes Alex Drueke, a former U.S. Army staff sergeant. He has served in Iraq for some time. While a former U.S Marine named Andy Tai Ngoc Huynh is also released.

The timing of the release of these prisoners is striking. It came right after President Vladimir V. Putin intensifies his war with Ukraine. Around 300,000 soldiers are fighting against Ukraine. Moreover, Russia is planning to take over the West and give threats of nuclear weapons.

Even the arrest of foreigners in Ukraine is making human rights advocates feel alarmed. The Western Government is raising questions and trying to protect the rights of foreign-born fighters. Some of them are serving the country but are held as prisoners now.

Some of the prisoners are released while others are already sentenced to death. The released prisoners from the US include Alex Drueke, a former U.S. Army staff, and Andy Tai Ngoc Huynh, a former U.S. Marine. They are deeply grateful to the Government for giving them this relief. Saudi Arabia is playing an important role when it comes to the exchange of prisoners.

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