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Newsline: Russian diplomat confirms talks with US on prisoners swap

A Russian diplomat has confirmed that Moscow is negotiating a prisoner exchange involving Brittney Griner and notorious “Merchant of Death” arms dealer Viktor Bout. “The discussions on the very sensitive topic of an exchange are proceeding via the channels chosen by our presidents,” said Alexander Datchiev, the head of the North America department at the Russian Foreign Ministry, according to state news agency TASS. “Silent diplomacy continues and should bear fruit if Washington, of course, is careful not to fall into propaganda.” (https://news.yahoo.com/russian-diplomat-confirms-talks-us-221333134.html) The American basketball star was sentenced to a nine-year prison sentence in Russia earlier this month over a small amount of cannabis oil that was discovered in her luggage at a Moscow airport. Bout, a 55-year-old former Soviet military officer, was arrested in Bangkok in 2008 in a sting operation in which US officials posed as Colombian rebels. He was held in custody for two years in Thailand before being extradited to the US to go on trial. In April 2012, a US judge sentenced him to 25 years for attempting to sell heavy weapons to the Colombian “rebels.”

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