Has the mainstream press become “Let’s Make a Deal” or did the White House publish Paul Whelan’s release, due to yesterday’s anger over their previous trade?
“US authorities” have informed CNN expeditiously of yesterday’s exchange. Joe Biden supported trading Viktor “Merchant of Death” Bout for WNBA player Brittney Griner since we had no one else Putin wanted.
Putin’s Main Target
Russia prohibited the release of Paul Whelan and Brittney Griner except if a former colonel from Russia’s national spy agency was also released, US authorities told CNN. The US decided to offer the identities of various other Russian inmates in US custody they would be ready to trade.
The US couldn’t facilitate Vadim Krasikov since he’s facing a life term in Germany for murder.
Russia wants a convicted murderer to be included in US prisoner swap that would see 'Merchant of Death' Viktor Bout traded for Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan.
Russian officials requested for a convicted murder and Kremlin spy Vadim Krasikov (pictured) to be released pic.twitter.com/wV9rnkzBHj
— Paul Goward (@PaulGoward) July 30, 2022
Putin’s proposal to swap Krasikov for an American looks ludicrous. Putin demands “parity,” but Krasikov isn’t in prison for spying. He shot a Chechen dissident in Berlin in 2019. Europeans are tired of Russian assassinations and won’t release those arrested.
The same “US officials” informed CNN that Biden sought to resolve Krasikov. Putin’s death record in Europe makes this a disgraceful request. Germany urged Biden to kick rocks, although politely.
CNN’s sources describe Biden’s additional offers. These look closer to Putin’s “parity” requirement.
Sources say the US offered various offers to the Russians to include Whelan in the deal. The US suggested Alexander Vinnik, a Russian citizen convicted in August, on laundering money, hacking, and blackmail charges.
Sources say the US also tried to transfer convicted Russian online criminal Roman Seleznev.
Background and What’s to Come
Seleznev’s lawyer didn’t immediately react. Frédéric Bélot, who defended Vinnik in France prior to his transfer to the US, informed CNN on Friday he was unaware of any prisoner exchange talks between Washington and Moscow.
Vinnik wasn’t excluded from conversations. It does seem Putin sought to outplay Biden’s team.
Leaks imply the White House knew he succeeded. Getting Bout returned for Griner will forever taint future trade conversations and encourage Moscow to detain Americans as leverage.
Mr. Bout interviewed Maria Butina, a Russian lawmaker who spent a year in U.S. jails, on Friday for Russian state television. Ms. Butina, a local celebrity in Russia following her sentence for working for an unregistered foreign entity, called Mr. Bout “a little person in gigantic geopolitics.”
Viktor Bout, the "merchant of death", is back home in Russia
And state TV host Vladimir Solovyov is over the moon about it pic.twitter.com/0KUlHmofI1
— Francis Scarr (@francis_scarr) December 9, 2022
The interview showed that Mr. Bout could gain prominence in Russia after coming home – 14 years after his incarceration. Russian official media documented his late entry at a Moscow airport, with a reporter remarking, “We all gave words of solidarity.”
Mr. Bout repeated President Vladimir Putin’s talking lines and described himself as a victim, saying the West thinks they didn’t finish them off in 1990, only when the Soviet Union collapsed. The West believes it can destroy and split Russia.
Putin needed Bout. His war in Ukraine is a fiasco and he’s out of weapons for troops. Bout will soon arm Russia’s army and terror organizations that share his anti-West sentiments. Bout’s company will kill many people. The WNBA got their player, though.This article appeared in The Political Globe and has been published here with permission.