Russia Releases Jailed Ex-Marine Trevor Reed in Exchange for Russian National

Russia Releases Jailed Ex-Marine Trevor Reed in Exchange for Russian National
Russian police officers escort U.S. ex-marine Trevor Reed, charged with attacking police, into a courtroom prior to a hearing in Moscow on March 11, 2020. (Alexander Nemenov/AFP via Getty Images)
Jack Phillips

The Russian government on April 27 released jailed former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed in exchange for a Russian pilot, according to the White House and Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“Today, we welcome home Trevor Reed and celebrate his return to the family that missed him dearly. Trevor, a former U.S. Marine, is free from Russian detention,” President Joe Biden said in a statement on April 27. “I heard in the voices of Trevor’s parents how much they’ve worried about his health and missed his presence. And I was delighted to be able to share with them the good news about Trevor’s freedom.”

Reed had been imprisoned in Russia since 2019 and was serving a nine-year term after he was charged for allegedly assaulting two officers in Moscow who were driving him to a police station. Reports said Reed was drunk at the time.

The former Marine was exchanged for Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko, who was serving a 20-year prison term in the United States after being convicted on drug charges, the Russian foreign ministry told state-run media on April 27. In 2010, Yaroshenko was arrested in Liberia and extradited to the United States.

Russian diplomats told state-run TV on April 27 that the prisoner exchange was the result of a “lengthy negotiation process.”

Russia had sought Yaroshenko’s return for years while also rejecting entreaties by high-level U.S. officials to release Reed, who was nearing his 1,000th day in custody and whose health had recently been worsening, his family said.

Officials in Moscow previously accused the United States of failing to notify Russia’s consular services about Yaroshenko’s arrest and extradition. At the time, Russia’s foreign ministry claimed it was a violation of international laws.

Reed’s family told several news outlets in a statement on April 27 that “while we understand the interest in Trevor’s story—and as soon as he’s ready, he‘ll tell his own story, we’d respectfully ask for some privacy while we address the myriad of health issues brought on by the squalid conditions he was subjected to in his Russian gulag,” referring to the Soviet-era prison camp system in which millions of dissidents were detained.

Previously, his parents said Reed went on a hunger strike to protest being placed in solitary confinement, and said he hadn’t received proper medical care for tuberculosis. Russia’s prison agency in March 2022 denied those allegations and said Reed hadn’t been in contact with anyone who had tuberculosis.

Multiple other Americans still remain jailed in Russia, including WNBA star Brittney Griner and Michigan corporate security executive Paul Whelan.

The Reed family was also working with a consultant, Jonathan Franks, who has been involved in other recent high-profile releases, including the case of Michael White, a Navy veteran freed from Iran in 2020.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter with 15 years experience who started as a local New York City reporter. Having joined The Epoch Times' news team in 2009, Jack was born and raised near Modesto in California's Central Valley. Follow him on X:
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