US To Exchange 'Lord Of War' Arms Dealer With Russia For WNBA Star And Alleged US Spy

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US To Exchange 'Lord Of War' Arms Dealer With Russia For WNBA Star And Alleged US Spy

The United States has agreed to engage with Russia in a prisoner-swap deal involving an alleged spy, a women's basketball star caught with a marijuana vape, and a Russia arms dealer.


After months of negotiations the Biden White House has agreed to hand over convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout, who is currently serving a 25-year sentence in the United States on weapons smuggling charges for Paul Whelan an American arrested in Russia on spying charges and Brittney Griner a WNBA star who was detained in Russia for possessing a marijuana vape pen.


US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement that:


"[We] can't and won't get into any of the details of what we proposed to the Russians over the course of so many weeks now. In terms of the President, of course he was not only directly involved, he signs off on any proposal that we make, and certainly when it comes to Americans who are being arbitrarily detained abroad, including in this specific case."


Adding:


"There is in my mind utility in conveying clear, direct messages to the Russians on key priorities for us. And as I mentioned, these include securing the return home of Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan. We start all negotiations to bring home Americans held hostage or wrongfully detained with a bad actor on the other side. We start all of these with somebody who has taken a human being American and treated them as a bargaining chip."


Viktor Bout is a 55-year-old Russian who was at one time one of the biggest arms-traffickers in the world. He delivered weapons for profit to rogue regimes across the world and to terrorist organisations. In 2008 he was arrested in Thailand and then extradited to the United States. His life was the inspiration for the 2005 film Lord of War starring Nicolas Cage.


It is unclear as to why the Russians want Bout returned. When asked last week about this CIA Director Bill Burns said:


"That's a good question because Viktor Bout's a creep. The Russians over the years have certainly expressed an interest in in you know, Victor Bout's return but those are, as I learned in my old life, very complicated issues in terms of trying to sort through."


There is no confirmed date yet as to when the prisoner swap will officially take place.


[Based on reporting by: CNN]


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Thinking Humanity: US To Exchange 'Lord Of War' Arms Dealer With Russia For WNBA Star And Alleged US Spy
US To Exchange 'Lord Of War' Arms Dealer With Russia For WNBA Star And Alleged US Spy
The United States has agreed to engage with Russia in a prisoner-swap deal involving an alleged spy, a women's basketball star caught with a marijuan
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