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Putin Wants More Prisoner Exchanges

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During a visit to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Russian President Vladimir Putin said further prisoner exchanges with the United States are in order. This has been the topic of conversation amongst a small cadre of hawkish Kremlin watchers for a few months.

The first major feat of the Russian Federal Security Service was to come up with a deal that would release WNBA star Brittney Griner from a nine-month prison sentence. This was not without its share of complications, however. The icing on the cake was Griner’s arrival in San Antonio, Texas, early Friday morning. She was whisked away to a medical facility to determine her state of health. She was released a few hours later.

The triumvirate of the best way to get the WNBA star out of Russia was to do it in the right way. It involved the use of the state-owned media to promote the exchange. The aforementioned has been the subject of several diplomatic disputes, including a spat between Russian President Vladimir Putin and former President Barack Obama. The former had been reportedly snubbed by the latter in recent weeks.

The Biden administration had been trying to secure the return of Griner, but had been unable to snag a deal that was more than a mere formality. A deal was finally struck, with the help of Saudi Arabia, the UAE and the U.S. A corporate jet carrying Griner arrived in San Antonio, Texas, early Friday morning. It was not until last month that she was actually transferred to a penal colony.

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