MOSCOW, August 14. /TASS/. The Russian side is ready for a professional conversation and concrete steps to exchange prisoners with the United States, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Sunday.
"I would like to stress once again: the Russian side is ready for a professional conversation and concrete steps inn this area. But only professionally. People who are to deal with these matters are ready. And this work is not done in the public eye," she said in an interview with the Voskresny Vecher (Sunday Evening) with Vladimir Solovyov program on the Rossiya-1 television channel, when asked about the chances for swapping Russian national Viktor Bout, who is serving his sentence in the United States, this year.
"As for the Russian side, everything is ready for that. If the American side continues to indulge in awful political intrigues and quarrelling, then let American citizens know their ‘heroes,’" she said.
Earlier. Washington proposed to Moscow to swap Russian businessman Viktor Bout, who is serving a prison term in the United States for alleged arms trafficking, for US national Brittney Griner, convicted in Russia for drug trafficking and possession, and Paul Whelan, who was convicted on espionage charges.
A possible prisoner exchange was among the topics of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s telephone conversation with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on July 29. The Russian side said after their telephone talks that Lavrov suggested that low-key diplomacy would be more appropriate on this matter.