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US, Russia thank Turkiye for its role in prisoner swap deal

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 30: A banner with a picture of Trevor Reed, a U.S. Marine who is currently being detained in a Russian prison, hangs in Lafayette Park near the White House as Joey Reed and Paula Reed, the parents of Trevor, demonstrate on March 30, 2022 in Washington, DC. The Reed parents announced that their son Trevor has begun a second hunger strike to protest the conditions of his treatment in prison, which he has been held in since allegedly assaulting a police officer in Moscow in 2019. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
A banner with a picture of Trevor Reed, a U.S. Marine who is currently being detained in a Russian prison, hangs in Lafayette Park near the White House as Joey Reed and Paula Reed, the parents of Trevor, demonstrate on March 30, 2022 in Washington, DC [Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images]

The US yesterday thanked Turkiye for its role in the release of a former Marine who had been held in Russia for three years.

Trevor Reed, an American citizen, was exchanged for Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko at an airport in Turkiye.

White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said the Biden administration is "very grateful to Turkey for allowing the exchange to take place in their country."

Reed, from Texas, was expected to arrive back in the United States last night, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said. Senior US officials said the 30-year-old was in "good spirits."

In a call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin also thanked Ankara for coordinating and supervising the prisoner swap, while Erdogan said the move underscored Turkiye's efforts towards peace and dialogue.

Reed was convicted in Russia in 2019 of endangering the lives of two police officers while drunk on a visit to Moscow. The United States called his trial a "theater of the absurd." he was handed a nine-year term.

US officials said Biden commuted the sentence of Yaroshenko, a Russian pilot who was arrested by American special forces in Liberia in 2010 and convicted for conspiracy to smuggle cocaine into the United States. Russia had proposed a prisoner swap for Yaroshenko in July 2019 in exchange for the release of any American.

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