During a possible prisoner exchange with the United States, Russia made an unusual offer: Vadim K., who was convicted of the murder of Tiergarten, would be released.
Russia demanded the release of Russian Vadim K., who was sentenced to life imprisonment in Germany for the murder of Tiergarten, in exchange for the release of two detained US citizens. US Department of Defense spokesman John Kirby confirmed a corresponding move by Russian representatives on US news channel CNN on Friday.
However, he flatly refused this request. “Taking hostage two US citizens in exchange for a murderer in a third country is not a serious counteroffer,” Kirby said.
Blinken and Lavrov talk about prisoner exchange
The US is trying to free basketball player Brittney Griner and former US soldier Paul Whelan, who are currently imprisoned in Russia. Washington therefore presented a proposal to Moscow, which was also the subject of talks between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Friday.
According to media reports, the US plan, announced weeks ago, involves the exchange of two US citizens for Russian arms smuggler Viktor Bout, who is imprisoned in the US. CNN later reported on Friday, citing knowledgeable circles, that Russian representatives had requested the US through unofficial channels to release Vadim K. as part of a prisoner swap.
K., who is stated to be a colonel in the Russian secret service FSB, was sentenced to life imprisonment in December 2021 for the alleged murder of Tiergarten. The Berlin Court of Appeal found, on behalf of Russian state officials, that it was proven that he shot a Chechen-born Georgian at the Kleiner Tiergarten in August 2019.
Vadim K. is serving a prison sentence in Germany
According to CNN, Russia’s request for the man’s release was deemed problematic, especially while K. was serving his sentence in Germany. However, according to the news channel citing a German government official, US representatives contacted Germany to find out in principle whether K. would be part of the swap agreement. But this was never seriously considered.
Basketball star Griner was arrested in mid-February at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport for possession of cannabis oil. He faces up to ten years in prison for drug trafficking. Whelan was sentenced to 16 years in prison for espionage in 2020.
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