US Marine veteran Trevor Reed was freed from custody in Moscow in a prisoner exchange with a Russian drug trafficker on Wednesday, President Biden and officials announced.
“Today we welcome home Trevor Reed and celebrate his return to the family that missed him dearly,” Biden said in a statement, emphasizing that “Trevor, a former US Marine, is free from Russian detention.”
Biden revealed that he shared the news with his parents, Joey and Paula Reed, saying he “heard in the voices of Trevor’s parents how much they’ve worried about his health and missed his presence.”
“I’m grateful for the tireless and dedicated work of Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs Roger Carstens, US Ambassador to the Russian Federation John Sullivan, and many others across our government to ensure that Trevor came home safely,” the president continued.
“The negotiations that allowed us to bring Trevor home required difficult decisions that I do not take lightly.”
Reed had been behind bars since 2019, serving a nine-year sentence on charges he assaulted two cops in Moscow, who were driving him to a police station the night after a party where he reportedly got blackout drunk.
A senior US official and the Russian foreign ministry confirmed to the Associated Press that Reed’s release was negotiated as part of a prisoner exchange. The US traded the veteran for Konstantin Yaroshenko, a convicted Russian drug trafficker serving a 20-year prison sentence in Connecticut.
The official told the outlet that the decision to swap the prisoners was “difficult” but was “one that we thought was worth it.”
The swap reportedly took place in an unidentified European country – however a plane belonging to Russia’s federal security service was spotted flying to Ankara, Turkey hours before it occurred.
Reed’s family thanked Biden “for making the decision to bring Trevor home,” in a statement obtained by the outlet.
In the weeks that predated his release, Reed’s parents grew increasingly concerned over the veteran’s health as he embarked on a second hunger strike to protest his treatment by Russian officials last month.
“Trevor had some injury where he thinks he might have a broken rib. Plus, he has all the symptoms of active tuberculosis. He went to a prison hospital for about 10 days. And they didn’t treat him,” his father said.
Joey Reed added that his son requested to stay in the hospital but was instead put in solitary confinement. While in prison, Trevor was also coughing up blood and had “something protruding out of his side,” his father also claimed.
The senior US official said Reed’s case was of “utmost priority” because of his health.
Biden added that his administration will not stop their efforts to bring home Paul Whelan, a Michigan corporate security executive jailed on espionage charges.
“[Reed’s] safe return is a testament to the priority my Administration places on bringing home Americans held hostage and wrongfully detained abroad,” Biden said.
With Post wires