Biden Hostage Situation – Special “Trade” Requested
(UnitedVoice.com) – On Thursday, April 28, the Biden administration announced officials secured the release of US Marine Trevor Reed after months of internal deliberations and negotiations with Russia. The BBC chronicled that in 2019, Reed traveled to Russia to visit his Russian girlfriend. One night, while drunk, he was detained by police who alleged Reed touched an officer while driving, causing him to swerve, and elbowed another officer who intervened. A Russian court sentenced Reed to nine years in prison for assault on the officers for his crimes.
To secure Reed’s release, the US government swapped convicted Russian drug smuggler Konstantin Yaroshenko. Currently, at least 55 Americans are held hostage abroad. The families say if the Biden administration could secure Reed’s release, for which they’re happy, it can also help their family members.
Families of Russian Hostages Push Biden Administration
On Wednesday, May 4, over a dozen family members of Americans held hostage appeared in front of the White House. Each demanded to meet with President Joe Biden to share their ideas of how the administration could help their loved ones secure their freedom. Some believe that 16 of the 55 Americans trapped could be set free through a prisoner exchange program.
Hostage expert Mickey Bergman told Axios that Reed had several issues in his favor that others might not:
- Reed experienced deteriorating health, and the family accused Russia of not treating their son for tuberculosis, which he contracted in their country.
- His parents were relentless in pursuit of a meeting with Biden. They not only protested the White House, but they also waited in Fort Worth for hours in the cold to get his attention. They finally secured a meeting on March 30 with the president.
- On February 23, Bergman and former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D) secretly visited Moscow at the invitation of the Russian government to discuss Reed’s situation.
Paul Whelan was a Marine whose release Bergman and Richardson also tried to obtain. In the end, Reed is home, and Whelan is not. Whelan’s family told Axios his first words were to ask why he was left behind.
US Announces WNBA Star Detained in Russia was Wrongfully Detained
In mid-February, ahead of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, WNBA superstar Brittney Griner was in Russia to play in an international basketball league. It’s common for WNBA players to play overseas in the offseason to complement their incomes. Russian officials detained her after going through her luggage and finding a vape cartridge with CBD oil from cannabis. If convicted, Griner could spend ten years in a Russian jail.
Recently, the government determined that Russia wrongfully detained Griner, and the State Department moved Griner’s case to the special envoy of hostage affairs. Experts say she’ll have a better chance of release under the new designation.
Still, questions linger about other families seeking answers from the US government. The White House says it’s regularly in contact with families of hostages in Russia, and it continues to find all avenues to help secure the release of their family members.
Stay tuned. This story is evolving, and it’s unknown what influence the Ukrainian war may have on any decisions Russia might make about US hostages.
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