Russian says 60 Russian ‘hostages’ held in US


Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin said that more than 60 Russian “hostages” are serving prison sentences in the US, Russian state-owned news agency RIA reported on Tuesday.

In excerpts from an interview with RIA, Vershinin said: “The total number of Russian citizens, who have been in effect taken hostage, exceeds 60.”

Vershinin provided no evidence that the Russians’ sentences were politically motivated or otherwise unfair.

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Earlier this month, the United States released convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, who had been serving a 25-year sentence in a prisoner swap for Brittney Griner, an American basketball star jailed in Russia for drug offences.

US media have reported that Russia refused to include Paul Whelan, a US Marine Corps veteran convicted of espionage in 2020, in the exchange.

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