Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: Russian envoy to U.S. visited convicted arms dealer

Russia’s ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov said early on Thursday he had visited Viktor Bout, the Russian arms dealer jailed in the United States and linked to a possible swap for two U.S. citizens imprisoned by Moscow. “He really wants to return to his homeland, he yearns for his family, for his mother,” Antonov said in a short video posted by the Russian embassy on the Telegram messaging app. (https://www.reuters.com/world/russian-envoy-us-says-he-visited-convicted-arms-dealer-bout-prison-2022-10-13/) Variously dubbed “the merchant of death” and “the sanctions buster” for his ability to get around arms embargoes, Bout, 55, is serving a 25 year-prison sentence. Washington has offered to exchange Bout for Brittney Griner, the U.S. basketball star jailed for nine years in Russia on drugs charges and U.S. Marine Corps veteran Paul Whelan. On Wednesday, the U.S. State Department said the United States had consular access to Griner since early August.

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