Apr 28, 2022
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The price of exchanging pilot Yaroshenko for a US Marine

Reproduction of a photo of Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko from the personal archive of his mother Lyubov Yaroshenko.

Reproduction of a photo of Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko from the personal archive of his mother Lyubov Yaroshenko. (Photo: Valery Matytsin/TASS)

Liberation Yaroshenko in the current extremely tense relations between Moscow and Washington, a real miracle performed by Russian diplomats.

Recall that 53-year-old Yaroshenko is a contract pilot who worked in several African countries. Engaged in cargo and passenger transportation. In 2010, he was arrested by the Liberian intelligence agency and handed over to the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Yaroshenko was accused of preparing to transport several tons of cocaine. The DEA said that the drugs were to be transported from Latin America to the African continent: first to Liberia, then to Ghana. And from there, the illegal cargo was supposed to be delivered to the United States by diplomatic mail.

Yaroshenko pleaded not guilty. In 2011 he was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

American Trevor Rowdy Reidwho was exchanged for Yaroshenko, a former US Marine, received 9 years in Russia for assaulting police officers. He staged a brawl and put up aggressive resistance to law enforcement officers who came on a call. On the way to the police department, he also showed aggression: first he hit the driver, which almost led to an accident, and then another policeman. The convict does not remember the details – he was drunk.

In the United States, he could have been shot on the spot for resisting. But the Russian court sentenced him to a much milder punishment than the American Yaroshenko, who was tried for supposed intent to commit a crime.

At the time of the exchange, both prisoners remained in prison for seven years.

President of the U.S.A Joe Biden claims that the exchange of American Trevor Reed, convicted in the Russian Federation, began to be negotiated three months ago, moreover, on his initiative.

And the official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova recalled the huge role of the Russian Embassy in the United States, whose employees throughout the 12 years of Yaroshenko’s imprisonment provided him with assistance and support, while the American side refused to even provide elementary medical care to the prisoner.

According to her, the Russian embassy in the United States played a huge role in the release of the pilot, whose employees not only followed his fate from newspaper publications of newspapers or communicated with his wife, but every day wrote notes, letters to the prison administration, organized visits, satisfied his requests.

Reed’s parents last summer, on the eve of the meeting between the presidents of Russia and the United States, on television turned to Biden with a request to assist in the release of their son.

BUT Lyubov Yaroshenkothe mother of a convicted pilot, has repeatedly appealed to the current American presidents with a request for clemency or the exchange of her son for other prisoners. After her death, the work was continued by the wife of Konstantin Yaroshenko. The Russian Foreign Ministry compiled lists of Americans serving sentences in Russian prisons, offering various exchange options. Everything was in vain.

And suddenly, now, when relations between our countries have become very bad because of the special operation in Ukraine, the exchange has finally happened. Why’s that?

Special services veteran Alexander Mikhailov believes that Reed in the United States appeared very serious patrons. Or influential people who are very interested in this exchange.

– Very serious guys from the US special services have come into our field of vision more than once. We offered an exchange, and were refused. And here – just a former Marine who came to Russia as a student. So, there was a force that put pressure on the American political system and lobbied for his release. Theoretically, in this way it is possible to release other Russians serving sentences in American prisons. It will depend on who we bring here so that the American side agrees to the exchange.

joint venture»: — Is it known what forces on the American side are behind the exchange? Who could make the President of the United States care about his fate?

– I have no such information. But the very fact of such an exchange indicates that there was lobbying, and at the highest level.

Experts have other opinions as well. So political scientist Sergey Markov believes that Yaroshenko has become a pawn in the intelligence game.

– Konstantin Yaroshenko is no longer needed by the Americans. It was required in order to put pressure on the Russian special services on the world market. After all, he was arrested as a person who participated, let’s say, in the delicate operations of the Russian special services. And the Americans used this arrest to keep them from competing with the CIA in some areas. And now, when the US has moved on to a massive attack on everything Russian, there is no need for such complex mechanisms of pressure.

joint venture»: – In the United States, Viktor Bout is imprisoned (convicted on charges of attempting to smuggle weapons to Colombia, sentenced to 25 years in prison and a fine of $ 15 million – ed.) And other Russian citizens against whom strange accusations were made. Is there a possibility of their exchange?

– Based on the logic of events, the exchange of Bout is also possible. But what I’m talking about is my assumptions. And in each individual case there may be nuances that are not known to the uninitiated.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said that it would continue to make every effort to release all Russians imprisoned in the United States.

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