Prisoner swaps with US best resolved quietly — Kremlin

Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov

© APA | Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov

# 14 February 2024 16:13 (UTC +04:00)

Issues surrounding prisoner swaps between Russia and the US should be resolved quietly, as this is in the best interests of both parties, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, APA reports citing TASS.

Reporters asked him to comment on a statement by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken that on February 12 he held a phone conversation with US national Paul Whelan, who is in prison in Russia.

"I cannot tell you this," Peskov said replying to a question as to whether any actions are being planned in relation to this. "I would like to remind you of the words of [Russian] President [Vladimir Putin] in his recent interview [that] such affairs love silence. They can only be resolved quietly. So it is in our interest, in the interest of the American side, in the interest of those individuals concerned for everything to be resolved in silence," the Kremlin official added.

On December 28, 2018, Whelan, who holds US, UK, Canadian and Irish citizenship, was arrested by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) in a room at Moscow’s Metropol Hotel while allegedly carrying out a spy mission. The FSB opened a criminal case against him on charges of espionage under Article 276 of the Russian Criminal Code. On June 15, 2020, the Moscow City Court found Whelan guilty of spying against Russia and sentenced him to 16 years in a high-security penal colony.