Paul Whelan not freed with Brittney Griner over jailed Russian assassin

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Paul Whelan not freed with Brittney Griner over jailed Russian assassin

By 

Bruce Golding

December 9, 2022 3:57pm 

 Updated

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Ex-Marine Paul Whelan wasn’t freed with back-in-the-USA basketball star Brittney Griner because Russia demanded the release of a killer spy who’s imprisoned for life in Germany.

Negotiations to swap Russian “Merchant of Death” arms dealer Viktor Bout for both Griner and Whelan broke down over Russian demands that convicted assassin Vadim Krasikov be included in the deal, according to multiple reports.

Russia was willing to trade Griner for Bout because it considers both of them criminals, the New York Times said Friday, citing unidentified US officials.

But Russia claims that Whelan is an American agent and insisted that he would only be exchanged for a Russian counterpart or someone of similar stature, the Times said.

The US — which says the allegations against Whelan are bogus — does not have any Russian spies in custody and Russia floated Krasikov’s name earlier this year, CNN reported in July.

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Russia wants convicted assassin Vadim Krasikov freed in a potential prisoner swap.
Russia wants convicted assassin Vadim Krasikov freed in a potential prisoner swap.
In this Aug. 23, 2019, file photo, Paul Whelan, a former U.S. marine who was arrested for alleged spying in Moscow on Dec. 28, 2018, speaks while standing in a cage as he waits for a hearing in a courtroom in Moscow, Russia. Viktor Bout, the Russian arms dealer who once inspired a Hollywood movie, is back in the headlines with speculation around a return to Moscow in a prisoner exchange for WBNA star Brittney Griner and Whelan.

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