Kremlin grateful to Saudi Arabia, UAE for facilitating high-profile Russian-US prisoner exchange

Spokesman Dmitry Peskov says both countries 'traditionally make significant contribution' to humanitarian issues.

Kremlin grateful to Saudi Arabia, UAE for facilitating high-profile Russian-US prisoner exchange

The Kremlin has thanked Saudi Arabia and the UAE for facilitating Thursday's high-profile prisoner swap, as Russian national Viktor Bout returned home in exchange of American basketball star Brittney Griner.

"We highly appreciate the role of the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, which traditionally make a significant contribution to such processes," spokesman Dmitri Peskov said in an interview with the Russia Pervy TV channel on Friday.

The prisoner exchange took place in Abu Dhabi. While Bout arrived in Moscow Thursday night, Griner reached the US early Friday.

Viktor's wife Alla Bout thanked the US for respectful behavior during the swap and expressed hope that his personal belongings, which he did not have time to take with him, will be sent to the Russian Embassy in the US.

She added that due to logistic issues he is exhausted and needs rest before making any statements.

Bout was arrested in Thailand in 2008 on charges of illegal arms deliveries, extradited to the US, and sentenced in 2012 to 25 years in prison.

Griner, meanwhile, was held in February at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport on charges of illegal import of hashish oil and sentenced to nine years behind bars.

Hüseyin Demir

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