‘We appreciate our Turkish partners’ assistance on this important matter,’ says Biden’s national security advisor
The US on Wednesday thanked Turkiye for its role in the release of Trevor Reed, an American detained in Russia for three years.
“As we welcome home Trevor Reed, we are grateful to Turkey for its role in making his safe return possible,” Jake Sullivan, US President Joe Biden’s national security advisor, said on Twitter. “We appreciate our Turkish partners’ assistance on this important matter.”
Sullivan did not offer additional details on Ankara’s role, but Joey Reed, Trevor’s father, told CNN that his son was exchanged for Konstantin Yaroshenko at an airport in Turkiye.
“Trevor quickly told us that the American plane pulled up to the Russian plane, and they walked both prisoners across at the same time like you see in the movies,” he said, using another name for Turkiye. “They were leaving Turkey, and were in the air when he called us and told us this.”
Yaroshenko was arrested in Liberia in 2010 on drug smuggling charges, and extradited to the US where he was serving a 20-year prison term.
Reed was detained in Russia in 2019 after being apprehended on charges of attacking police officers in Moscow. He was convicted and sentenced to nine years in prison.
Biden hailed Reed’s release “from Russian detention,” saying the “negotiations that allowed us to bring Trevor home required difficult decisions that I do not take lightly.”
“His safe return is a testament to the priority my Administration places on bringing home Americans held hostage and wrongfully detained abroad,” he said in a statement.
The deal that secured Reed’s release is not indicative of a wider rapprochement with Russia as it continues its offensive against Ukraine, a senior administration official maintained.
“I want to be very clear: This is a discrete issue on which we were able to make an arrangement with the Russians. It represents no change, zero, to our approach to the appalling violence in Ukraine,” the official said on condition of anonymity.