Putin, Biden likely to discuss issue of convicted Russian and US nationals — Kremlin

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MOSCOW, June 7. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Joe Biden are likely to discuss the issue of Russians jailed in the US and US nationals convicted in Russia, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Monday. 

“I don’t rule out that this issue could be touched upon,” Peskov said.

The presidential spokesman noted that the Kremlin had not received a letter from Russian national Viktor Bout’s mother, who asked the heads of state to bring her son back home. Bout is currently serving a sentence in a US jail.

Convicts

Former US marine Paul Whelan, who also holds British, Canadian, and Irish citizenship, was detained by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) on December 28, 2018, in Moscow while on an alleged spy mission. The Moscow City Court found Whelan guilty of spying against Russia and sentenced him to 16 years in a high-security prison. Whelan pleaded not guilty, dismissing the criminal case as a provocation by Russian special services.

American student Trevor Reed was sentenced to 9 years in a penal colony for the violent assault of a police officer in Moscow. According to investigators, in August 2019, Reed attacked police officers who arrived after a phone call of Moscow residents. They complained about an intoxicated man who started an argument with several women. When the foreigner was taken to the police station, in the vehicle, he attacked the driver and his partner.

In late January, the Russian Foreign Ministry stated that Moscow would not make unilateral concessions to the US in the issue of swapping inmates. Meanwhile, early in December, the Foreign Ministry drew attention to the conditions of some Russian nationals in US jails. In particular, Konstantin Yaroshenko and Roman Seleznyov do not receive proper medical aid, despite having serious health issues. Another Russian inmate, Viktor Bout, is repeatedly being transferred to a special prison unit with harsher conditions without any apparent reasons.