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Moscow discloses number of ‘hostages’ in US

American officials view Russians with “a presumption of guilt,” Deputy FM Sergey Vershinin has said

The US puts Russian nationals behind bars without a fair trial and uses them as hostages with Moscow, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin has claimed. His comment comes following two high-profile prisoner swaps between Moscow and Washington.

“For many years, the US authorities have been literally hunting down Russians across the world, especially in countries with which they have bilateral extradition treaties,” the diplomat said in an interview with the RIA Novosti news agency on Tuesday. He added that Washington seeks to “detain our citizens under false pretences.” 

“The US courts are rubber-stamping verdicts with lengthy prison sentences that last dozens of years,” Vershinin stated, insisting that Russians are not expected to receive a fair trial. “The total number of Russian citizens essentially taken hostage exceeds 60 people.” 

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According to the deputy foreign minister, the situation has only worsened under the administration of President Joe Biden.

In the US, a presumption of guilt is being applied to people from Russia: ‘If they are Russian, they are criminals.’

In April, the US released former Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko, who was sentenced in 2011 to 20 years in jail on drug-smuggling charges. Yaroshenko was exchanged for US Marine Corps veteran Trevor Reed, who was serving a nine-year prison term after being convicted of assaulting a police officer in Moscow.


READ MORE: ‘Nazi’-inspired US prison guards, American ‘revolution’ and Ukraine conflict: Highlights from Viktor Bout’s RT interview

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Earlier this month, the US released Russian businessman Viktor Bout in exchange for basketball star Brittney Griner. Bout was convicted of arms-trafficking and sentenced to 25 years in jail in 2012. Griner received a nine-year prison term in August after pleading guilty to violating Russian drug laws.

December 21, 2022 at 01:04PM
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