Lavrov, when asked about contact with Blinken, replied: “Buttons are in place”
Russian Foreign Minister: ready to discuss prisoner exchange with the United States through agreed channels Between Russia and the United States there is a channel agreed by the presidents through which the topic of prisoner exchange can be discussed, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken during the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) ministerial events in Cambodia showed no interest in contact on the issue of the exchange of prisoners between Russia and the United States, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said during a press conference. It was broadcast on YouTube.
“I didn't see him [Secretary of State Anthony Blinken] being interested in catching me for something, the buttons are all in place,”— he said.
Speaking about the topic of the exchange of convicts in Russia and the United States, Lavrov recalled that there is a discussion channel agreed upon by the leaders of the two countries, which “remains relevant.”
“If the Americans decide to resort to public diplomacy again and make loud statements that they are going to take such and such steps, this is their business, I would even say their problem, because agreements on calm, professional work are not only on this topic , on many other topics, Americans often can't stand it, — said the minister.
Earlier, US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said that Blinken would seek contact with Lavrov in the ASEAN fields in Cambodia and “catch him by the button” if the opportunity arose. The secretary of state was meeting with the Russian minister for a prisoner exchange, Kirby said.
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At the end of July, CNN reported on the White House's proposal to exchange businessman Viktor Bout, convicted in the United States (sentenced to 25 years for arms trafficking, he pleads not guilty) to Paul Whelan and basketball player Brittney Griner convicted in Russia (the first was convicted in Russia for espionage, the second— for drug smuggling).
Later, the TV channel reported that Moscow had offered to include in the exchange process ex-FSB officer Vadim Krasikov, who was sentenced in Germany to life in prison for the murder of Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, a Georgian citizen of Chechen origin, in 2019.
On July 29, Lavrov and Blinken discussed the issue of the exchange. After that, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that the United States received counter-proposals from Russia, but did not consider them serious. The Russian leader's spokesman responded by saying that information exchanges on the subject should be “secret”; and “without the megaphones of diplomacy.”
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