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In Height of Russia-Ukraine War, Biden Swaps Prisoner with Moscow



Joe Biden

Although Russia and the United States are not coming to many agreements, a prisoner exchange has been coordinated.  “Russia has exchanged jailed American Trevor Reed for a Russian pilot held in a U.S. prison in a rare example of cooperation between the two countries amid the confrontation over Moscow’s war in Ukraine” reports Bloomberg.

30-year-old Reed is a former U.S. Marine was serving nine years in prison after being convicted in 2020 of assaulting two police officers. Reed was swapped for Konstantin Yaroshenko, a Russian pilot jailed in 2011 for 20 years for conspiracy to smuggle cocaine into the U.S. after he was seized in a sting operation in Liberia.

U.S. President Joe Biden spoke early Wednesday with Reed’s parents, who expressed their relief and joy, and the former Marine was able to call his family from a government plane en route to the U.S., according to a person familiar with the discussions. Biden had earlier commuted Yaroshenko’s sentence as part of the exchange, according to senior administration officials who briefed reporters Wednesday.

“The negotiations that allowed us to bring Trevor home required difficult decisions that I do not take lightly,” Biden said in a statement. Biden had raised the cases of Reed and another jailed American, Paul Whelan, at his summit meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva last year, telling reporters later that “I’m not going to walk away” from them.

Reed was detained in 2019 and had charges against him denied. He the went on hunger strike to protest conditions in jail last year, his family said. The U.S. insists Reed was unfairly convicted, unlike Yaroshenko.

Bloomberg reports:

Russian TV footage showed Reed walking unsteadily as armed Russian police officers bundled him onto a plane at Moscow’s Vnukovo airport.

Reed’s deteriorating health added urgency to efforts to secure his release, a senior Biden administration official said. Whelan remains in Russian custody.

Reed’s family thanked Biden for “the decision to bring Trevor home.” In a statement released through a spokesperson, they said: “The president’s action may have saved Trevor’s life.”

The exchange took place in Turkey. “Reed and Yaroshenko arrived at almost exactly the same time in Turkey. Teams on the ground on both sides confirmed the identities of the person the other country was offering, then Yaroshenko and Reed were walked across the tarmac to the other plane.”

The negotiations over Reed and Yaroshenko were strictly limited to the prisoner exchange and “not part of a broader discussion with the Russian Federation,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in an interview with MSNBC.

“We didn’t seek that. We aren’t seeking that,” Price said.

Bloomberg adds that U.S. officials are hopeful Reed’s release could open the door for other Americans detained or having legal issues in Russia such as WNBA basketball player Brittney Griner, who has been detained for allegedly possessing vape cartridges containing hash oil.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Stephane

    April 28, 2022 at 5:20 pm

    It really costs nothing to bring back Americans from foreign jails!
    The DEMON RATS are hoping to convert some votes for them, by doing that!

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Mental health crisis spikes among Afghan women after Taliban regained control two years ago



girls studying in afghanistan

The women of Afghanistan are suffering a mental health crisis since the Taliban regained power two years ago. According to a joint report from three U.N. agencies released Tuesday, approximately 70% of women experience feelings of anxiety, isolation and depression.

The numbers continue to rise, as there has already been a significant jump between April and June of this year alone, with an increase from 57%  the preceding quarter.

The report, conducted by U.N. Women, the International Organization for Migration and the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, interviewed women online, in-person and in group consultations as well as individual telesurveys.

592 Afghan women in 22 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces took part in the study. The Associated Press reports:

They have barred women from most areas of public life and work and banned girls from going to school beyond the sixth grade. They have prohibited Afghan women from working at local and non-governmental organizations. The ban was extended to employees of the United Nations in April.

Opportunities to study continued to shrink as community-based education by international organizations was banned and home-based schooling initiatives were regularly shut down by the de facto authorities — a term use by the U.N. for the Taliban government.

Afghanistan is the only country in the world with restrictions on female education and the rights of Afghan women and children are on the agenda of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

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