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Bout-Griner swap means some ground for Russia-US relations remains — expert

Andrey Bystritsky believes that the exchange is an equal achievement of the two countries

MOSCOW, December 8. /TASS/. Thursday’s exchange of Russian national Viktor Bout for US basketball player Brittney Griner took place thanks to goodwill displayed by both sides, which means that there is still some ground for relations between Russia and the United States, the board chairman of the Foundation for the Development and Support of the Valdai international discussion club, Andrey Bystritsky, told TASS.

"I think this is a good sign. It means that there remains some ground for relations, which, at first glance, have been seriously harmed. Nevertheless, certain organizations and forces managed to agree on the exchange, to the joy of the elites and societies in both countries," Bystritsky said.

The expert believes that the exchange is an equal achievement of the two countries.

"Obviously, the exchange took place on the basis of mutual goodwill. I would not give special credit to anyone," Bystritsky stressed.

The analyst remarked that this exchange testified to the fact that "even in very difficult times there are communication channels that allow us to negotiate very effectively and reliably."

"We also see that there are reliable international mediators," Bystritsky added. "Of course, contacts must continue. All necessary efforts must be exerted."

Earlier, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that Viktor Bout, who had been serving a prison term in the United States on charges of arms trafficking, was returned to Russia as a result of an agreement with the United States on his exchange for US basketball player Brittney Griner, who had been convicted in Russia for drug smuggling. The Russian Foreign Ministry said the exchange procedure was "successfully completed at Abu Dhabi airport on Thursday.".