‘Merchant of Death’ Bout tells ex-spy Brittney Griner: ‘We will not leave our people behind’

Prominent arms dealer Viktor Bout gave his first interview to a Russian state news agency hours after arriving in Moscow, saying he did not believe he had been traded for Britney Griner because she was particularly valuable to the Kremlin, adding, “We just do it.” kidded. don’t leave our people behind.”

He became a Russian spyRT News Reporter Maria Butina Butina tried to downplay the high-profile prisoner swap that saw the WNBA star return to the United States on Thursday after spending 10 months in a Russian prison on drug charges.

“Thinking about why they replaced me now is useless,” Butina told Butina.

“They traded me and that’s it. I do not consider myself important for Russian politics. We will not leave our people behind.”

Critics in the United States and other countries have condemned the prisoner exchange, saying President Biden paid too high a price to free the basketball player.

Once described as the world’s most prolific arms dealer and nicknamed “The Merchant of Death,” Booth was arrested in Thailand in 2008 and convicted in 2011 of conspiring to kill Americans by selling tens of millions of dollars worth of weapons to the FARC. . A terrorist group based in Colombia. He was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison.

The Kremlin reportedly sought to retrieve Bout over his alleged ties to Russian military intelligence and oligarch Igor Sechin, who is considered the right-hand man of President Vladimir Putin.

Posing as a legitimate businessman, Booth denied any involvement in Russia’s shadow echelons of power, and in a sit-down interview with RT, he insisted that his work was trivial.

Butinaga said there were “probably thousands and thousands and thousands” of similar cases and that he was simply distracted by geopolitics.

Booth, 56, spoke briefly about his experience in a US prison, saying he was never discriminated against because he was Russian, explaining that the prison was located in America’s “red belt”. Bout was incarcerated at a medium-security facility in Marion, Illinois.

“Mostly my prisoners were sympathetic to Russia, or at least if they didn’t know anything about it, they would ask me questions,” he said.

The prisoner exchange that led to the release of a notorious international criminal has been criticized by President Biden’s critics, including for failing to secure a release for Paul Whelan, a former Marine who has been in a Russian prison for nearly four years.

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said the United States had tried to secure Whelan’s release as part of the Bout deal, but the Russians would only agree to a one-for-one exchange.

Asked to look into the exchange controversy, Butt struck a diplomatic tone, saying he did not believe it was a sign of weakness on the part of the Biden administration.

“I wouldn’t say the Americans just replaced me and disappeared on their own,” Booth said. “If an agreement is reached, then a common language has been found that satisfies both parties.”


Related Articles

Latest Posts