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Trevor Reed, retired U.S. Marine, freed in U.S.-Russia prisoner swap

Russia and the U.S. have swapped prisoners, securing the release of former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed. Reed was jailed in 2020 on assault charges stemming from a drunken night out in Moscow the previous year. Russia’s Foreign Ministry said he was released after a “lengthy negotiation process” in exchange for Russian national Konstantin Yaroshenko, who has been jailed for more than a decade in the U.S. on drug smuggling charges. 

Reed’s family released a statement confirming his release, saying their “prayers have been answered and Trevor is safely on his way back to the United States.”

Trevor Reed Presser
Paula Reed, the mother of former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed, who was sentenced to nine years in a Russian prison, speaks during a news conference outside the U.S. Capitol to call for his release, September 16, 2020.TOM WILLIAMS/CQ-ROLL CALL, INC./GETTY

Mr. Biden thanked Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs Roger Carstens and U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan, among others, for their “tireless and dedicated work” to secure Reed’s release. The president said the negotiations “required difficult decisions” that he did “not take lightly,” and he vowed that his administration would keep working to get another former U.S. Marine, Paul Whelan, and professional basketball player Brittney Griner out of Russian prisons, too.

Whelan has been jailed since 2018, serving a 16-year sentence on espionage charges that the U.S. and his family say are fabricated. Griner has been held in Russia since mid-February on drug charges.    

A U.S. official told CBS News chief foreign affairs correspondent and “Face the Nation” moderator Margaret Brennan that the Wednesday prisoner swap was not any indication of broader diplomatic engagement with Russia amid the standoff over the war in Ukraine.  

The Associated Press said Wednesday’s prisoner swap was carried out in a European nation, with flight tracking services showing a Russian prison plane landing in Turkey’s capital of Ankara earlier in the day. The AP said the U.S. Bureau of Prisons had updated its website overnight to reflect that Yaroshenko, a Russian pilot who was convicted of smuggling cocaine into the U.S. in 2010 and sentenced to 20 years, was no longer behind bars. 

Yaroshenko’s lawyer Alexei Tarasov was quoted by Russia’s Interfax news agency as saying that his client was “now heading home.”