MOSCOW, August 13. /TASS/. Russia and the United States continue to engage in ‘quiet diplomacy’ on the possibility of exchanging Russian citizen Viktor Bout, who is serving a prison sentence in the United States; it should be fruitful, Alexander Darchiev, director of the Russian Foreign Ministry's North American Department, told TASS in an interview.
"The 'quiet diplomacy' continues, it should bear fruit, if, of course, Washington will strictly follow it without slipping into propaganda," the diplomat said in response to a corresponding question.
As for the American side taking the prisoner exchange topic out into the public arena, according to Darchiev, "there is nothing left to do but throw up one's hands. "I would not like to think that this was done out of sheer inconsideration. Rather, it was an attempt to put pressure on us through a media hype, to gain propaganda points for the ruling Democratic Party in the lead-up to the November Congress elections," he said, "This does not help the cause, it only hinders it."
Earlier, Washington offered Moscow to exchange Russian businessman Viktor Bout, who is serving a prison term in the US for arms trafficking, for basketball player Brittney Griner, sentenced to jail for drugs trafficking, and Paul Whelan, convicted in Russia of spying. The exchange of prisoners was one of the topics discussed in a telephone conversation between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in late July. Lavrov urged his American counterpart to return to ‘quiet diplomacy’ on the issue, the Russian side said after the conversation.