It is noted that we can talk about the exchange of Russian businessman Viktor Bout for Americans Paul Whelan and basketball player Britney Griner, but Jean-Pierre did not specify the details of the transaction.
“A counterproposal has been made that we do not consider serious,” she said.
At the same time, Jean-Pierre stressed that the United States is interested in a good-faith dialogue with the Russian side in order to release its citizens.
Earlier, on July 30, former US President Donald Trump called the proposed prisoner exchange “not a good deal.”
Prior to this, on July 27, CNN reported that US leader Joe Biden approved a deal to exchange Russian citizens held in American prisons for American citizens convicted in the Russian Federation.
According to the channel, businessman Viktor Bout is to be exchanged for Brittney Griner, a basketball player accused of drug smuggling, and Paul Whelan, convicted of espionage.
On the same day, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s plans to hold talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov became known. The topic of negotiations should be the fate of American citizens arrested in Russia.
As a high-ranking informed source told Izvestia, the Russian Federation does not consider the exchange of an American Paul Whelan for a Russian Viktor Bout to be equivalent, since Whelan’s article – espionage – does not imply an exchange for a civilian.
Earlier, on June 15, the Moscow City Court sentenced US citizen Paul Whelan. He was sentenced to 16 years in a strict regime colony on charges of espionage against the Russian Federation. The Whelan investigation finally ended in February 2020. Later, the Moscow City Court postponed the trial twice.
Athlete Brittney Griner, a member of the National Basketball Association, a two-time Olympic basketball champion in the US team, was detained by customs officers at Sheremetyevo Airport in February 2022. Vapes with cannabis oil were found in her hand luggage. A criminal case was opened against Greiner under the article on the smuggling of narcotic drugs in a significant amount. On July 7, the prosecutor’s office presented evidence in the case of the athlete, who fully admitted her guilt.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on July 1 noted the absence of political motives in the arrest of the athlete.