Prisoner swap is not step out of Russia-US crisis, says Kremlin

Spokesman Peskov says it is wrong to say that Russia-US agreement on exchange of prisoners means improvement in bilateral relations.

Prisoner swap is not step out of Russia-US crisis, says Kremlin

Talks between Russia and the US on the exchange of prisoners were not a step towards overcoming the crisis in bilateral relations, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday.

"These talks were exclusively about the prisoner exchange, it is wrong to draw any such hypothetical conclusions that this may be a step towards overcoming the crisis that we currently have in bilateral relations. No, bilateral relations continue to remain in such a grave state," Peskov told Russian daily Izvestia.

In a high-profile prisoner swap, US WNBA star Brittney Griner was freed on Friday in exchange for Viktor Bout, a Russian national infamous arms dealer, who was incarcerated in the US.

Asked about Bout, Peskov said he wishes him "speedy rehabilitation."

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

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

Hüseyin Demir

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