Trevor Reed: former marine back in US after prisoner swap with Russia

Paul Whelan, another American prisoner being held in a Russian camp, asks why he was left behind

Watch former US marine Trevor Reed being escorted to a plane

Watch former US marine Trevor Reed being escorted to a plane
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After spending years in a Russian prison, former marine Trevor Reed landed on US soil in the early hours of Thursday during a prisoner exchange that occurred amid heightened tension between Washington and Moscow.

Mr Reed was released from detention on Wednesday in exchange for Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko at an airport in Ankara, Turkey.

The exchange was not part of broader talks with Russia and did not change the US approach to Ukraine, the White House said.

Photos of Mr Reed standing with his family and August Pfluger, a US representative from Texas, were shared on Twitter on Thursday.

“This is the moment we have all been praying for. WELCOME HOME, Trevor Reed!” Mr Pfluger wrote.

Mr Reed's parents said earlier that he would be taken to a military hospital for monitoring and senior US officials said the 30-year-old was in “good spirits” despite some health issues.

President Joe Biden said in a statement on Wednesday that he was “delighted” to inform Mr Reed's parents that their son would be freed.

President Joe Biden claims the credit for Russia prisoner swap

President Joe Biden claims the credit for Russia prisoner swap

“I heard in the voices of Trevor’s parents how much they’ve worried about his health and missed his presence,” Mr Biden said.

The president told reporters on Wednesday he had raised the issue of Mr Reed's release “three months ago” without providing further details. Mr Reed's parents met the president last month to advocate their son's release.

In 2020, Mr Reed was sentenced by a Russian court to nine years in prison for reportedly attacking police officers while intoxicated. The US called the trial a “theatre of the absurd".

Yaroshenko was arrested by American special forces in Liberia in 2010 for drug trafficking, sent to the US for trial and sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2011.

“The negotiations that allowed us to bring Trevor home required difficult decisions that I do not take lightly,” Mr Biden said.

Mr Reed's release prompted questions over whether it will now be more difficult for the administration to bring home other detained Americans, including Paul Whelan, another ex-marine, and women's basketball star Brittney Griner.

Mr Whelan's family have expressed concern over the prospects for his release now that Yaroshenko, whom Moscow had sought to free since 2019, had been exchanged.

“Why was I left behind?” Mr Whelan asked his parents, according to the family's statement. He is currently being held in a Russian labour camp.

Griner was detained at a Russian airport on February 17 after a search of her luggage reportedly revealed she was carrying several cannabis oil vape cartridges. The Olympic gold medallist faces 10 years in prison if convicted.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters the Biden administration had been in touch with Mr Whelan's and Griner's families “over the course of time”, without providing further details.

Reuters contributed to this report

Updated: April 29, 2022, 6:57 AM