CNN reports the Biden administration has offered to exchange jailed Russian weapons dealer Viktor Bout for U.S. citizens Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan. Bout is an infamous arms trafficker known by U.S. authorities as the “Merchant of Death.” In 2012, he was sentenced to 25 years in a U.S. prison for conspiracy to commit terrorism.
In Washington, D.C., Secretary of State Tony Blinken said Wednesday he expects to speak soon with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov for the first time since the war began and will raise the cases of Whelan and Griner.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken: “We put a substantial proposal on the table weeks ago to facilitate their release. Our governments have communicated repeatedly and directly on that proposal. And I’ll use the conversation to follow up personally.”