Trevor Reed is an American marine who was released in a prisoner swap deal with Russia. Konstantin Yaroshenko, a Russian pilot and convicted drug trafficker, was traded for the former US Marine.
or Reed, a 30-year-old former Marine from Texas, was apprehended in the summer of 2019 when Russian officials claimed he assaulted a police officer while being transported to a police station by officers after a night of heavy drinking. He was ultimately sentenced to nine years in jail, despite his family’s insistence on his innocence and the US government’s description of him as “unjustly detained” and worry for his deteriorating health.
What Happened To Trevor Reed in Russia; Why Was He Detained
Trevor Reed, a 30-year-old former Marine from Texas, was apprehended in the summer of 2019 when Russian officials claimed he assaulted a police officer while being transported to a police station by officers after a night of heavy drinking. He was ultimately sentenced to nine years in jail, despite his family’s insistence on his innocence and the US government’s description of him as “unjustly detained” and worry for his deteriorating health.
President Joe Biden, who met with Reed’s parents outside the White House last month after they staged a protest, confirmed Reed’s release in a statement on Wednesday.
“I heard in the voices of Trevor’s parents how much they’ve worried about his health and missed his presence,” Biden said. “And I was delighted to be able to share with them the good news about Trevor’s freedom.”
In his statement, Biden thanked Special Envoy for Hostage Affairs Roger Carstens, U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan and “many others across our government to ensure that Trevor came home safely.”
“The negotiations that allowed us to bring Trevor home required difficult decisions that I do not take lightly,” Biden said. “His safe return is a testament to the priority my Administration places on bringing home Americans held hostage and wrongfully detained abroad.”
Biden congratulated Special Envoy for Hostage Affairs Roger Carstens, U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan, and “many others across our government” for ensuring that Trevor returned home safely in his message.
Biden also stated that his administration would endeavor to secure the release of Paul Whelan, a former US Marine who is now incarcerated in Russia. Whelan was arrested on espionage allegations in 2018 and sentenced to 16 years in prison in 2020.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken issued his own statement, thanking the “many allies and partners who assisted us” in gaining Reed’s release, and stating that the administration remained “committed to securing the freedom of all U.S. nationals wrongfully detained abroad.”
Reed Family’s Reaction
The Reed family thanked Biden, other administration officials, and Bill Richardson, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, for “making the decision to bring Trevor home,” as well as other administration officials and Bill Richardson, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, who, according to the family, traveled to Moscow in the hours before the Ukraine war began in the hopes of securing Reed’s release.
The Reed family had also been working with Jonathan Franks, a consultant who had previously worked on high-profile releases such as Michael White, a Navy veteran who was released from Iran in 2020.
The release of Reed had no immediate influence on the cases of other Americans imprisoned in Russian detention centers. Griner, for example, was arrested in February after a search of her purse uncovered a cannabis derivative, according to Russian authorities. Whelan is being jailed on trumped-up espionage charges, according to his relatives.
Whelan has been branded as wrongfully jailed by US officials, and Biden stated on Wednesday that “we won’t stop until Paul Whelan and others join Trevor in the loving arms of family and friends.”
Last month, Reed’s parents staged a protest outside the White House in the hopes of meeting with the president.
The prisoner swap was the most visible release of an American deemed wrongfully detained abroad during the Biden administration, and it came despite the fact that families of detainees who met with administration officials over the last year described the officials as dismissive of the idea of an exchange.
The United States typically opposes such exchanges for fear of encouraging foreign governments to take more Americans as prisoners in exchange for concessions, as well as to avoid a potential false equivalency between an unjustly detained American — as US officials believe Reed was — and a properly convicted criminal.
The US decided the bargain made sense in this case, in part because Yaroshenko had already served a significant portion of his prison sentence, which had been commuted.