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US does not view Russia’s response on prisoner exchange as counteroffer — official

"I don’t think we’d go so far as to even call it a counteroffer", John Kirby said

WASHINGTON, August 5. /TASS/. The US authorities still do not view Moscow’s purported response to its prisoner exchange proposal as a counteroffer, and its stance on the issue remains unchanged, a senior White House official has said.

During a briefing on Thursday, a reporter asked White House Coordinator for Strategic Communications at the National Security Council John Kirby to comment on his earlier remarks regarding the possibility of including into the exchange a Russian citizen, kept in a German prison. "Is it still an unserious offer?" the journalist asked.

Kirby replied: "Nothing’s changed about our position on that topic. I mean, I don’t think we’d go so far as to even call it a counteroffer."

Earlier, Washington offered Moscow to exchange Whelan and Griner for Russian citizen Viktor Bout, imprisoned in the US for arms trade. The exchange became one of the points of discussion during the phone call between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Russian Foreign Ministry said after the call that Lavrov strongly suggested Blinken to return to "quiet diplomacy" on this issue.

CNN reported last week citing anonymous sources that the US authorities have unofficially asked Germany about the possibility of including into the proposed swap a man, sentenced to life on charges of killing Georgian citizen Zelimkhan Khangoshvili in Berlin. According to the report, US and German officials identified the man as Vadim Krasikov, an agent of a Russian special service.