Brittany Griner remains in Russia; Trevor Reed is published.

US Marine veteran Trevor Reed is on his way home after being released from Russia, where officials said he had been wrongfully detained since 2019.

“Today, our prayers have been answered and Trevor is safely returned to the United States,” his family said in a statement. statement,

Reid’s release came as part of a prisoner swap with Russia, in which the US returned Konstantin Yaroshenko, a Russian pilot. sentenced in 2011 Sentenced to 20 years in prison for importing more than $100 million of cocaine.

The surprising prisoner swap was the result of long and difficult negotiations between the US and Russia, according to both countries. The fraught diplomacy was made all the more extraordinary by the complete collapse of relations between Washington and Moscow over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

President Joe Biden, who met with the Reid family last month, said in a statement Wednesday that negotiations to release her required “difficult decisions that I do not take lightly.”

“I heard in the voices of Trevor’s parents how concerned they are about his health and miss his presence,” Biden said. “And I’m delighted to share with them the good news about Trevor’s freedom.”

Reid, 30, was imprisoned for allegedly assaulting a police officer while intoxicated, but his family and US diplomats said he was innocent, describing the evidence against him at trial “absurd” and “absurd, Instead, he said he was being held up as a bargaining chip.

In recent weeks, Reid’s health had deteriorated and he was hospitalized with symptoms of tuberculosis and a possible broken rib, according to the State Department, making his release even more urgent.

Reid’s family said Biden’s decision to go ahead with the prisoner swap could have saved the former Marine’s life. He had previously expressed fears that Reed could suffer the same fate as Otto Warmbier, an American student held for 17 months in North Korea who fell into a coma and died after his 2017 release.

State Department has first refused It’s hard to identify exactly how many Americans are detained in Russia, but there are at least two high-profile prisoners who are behind bars there: Paul Whalen and WNBA star Brittany Griner.

Whalen, another former Marine, has been detained the longest, having first been arrested in late 2018, and accused of being a US spy. His family has denied this, but he was sentenced in 2020 to 16 years in prison.

Ryan Fahey, a former Justice Department official who is now serving as an independent attorney for the Whelan family, said he had “complex feelings” about Wednesday’s news.

“They wish the family well, but they also see it as a lost opportunity,” Fahey said, pointing to the separate crimes the two swapped inmates were convicted of. “It was a huge price to pay. If you make a comparison between the two guys who have gone home today, not including Paul in it is a missed opportunity.”

Fahey called on Biden to meet with the Whalens, as he had done with the Reeds, and consider alternative options than prisoner exchanges to free him.

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