NEW YORK, December 9. /TASS/. Former US president Donald Trump lashed at Thursday’s swap of Russian citizen Victor Bout for US basketball player Brittney Griner, calling it an "unpatriotic embarrassment."
"What a ‘stupid’ and unpatriotic embarrassment for the USA," Trump wrote on his Truth Social website.
In his opinion, the swap was "totally one-sided," given the severity of Bout’s charges and Griner’s openly anti-American stance. Trump also asked why Paul Whelan, another US citizen convicted in Russia on charges of espionage, was not included into the transaction.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said on December 8 that Viktor Bout was returning to Russia as a result of an agreement with the US to exchange him for American basketball player Brittney Griner.
Viktor Bout was detained in Thailand’s capital of Bangkok in 2008 under a warrant issued by a local court at the behest of the US. He was charged with illegally supplying weapons to a rebel group known as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, which is designated as a terrorist organization by the US. Bout was extradited to the United States two years later. In April 2012, he was sentenced to 25 years in jail and slapped with a $15-million fine.
Brittney Griner, a US basketball star, was arrested in Russia in February 2022 on charges of attempting to smuggle drugs into the country. She flew to Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport from New York, where upon arrival, two cartridges with cannabis oil were found in her luggage during baggage inspection. According to an expert review, the substance was cannabis oil, which qualifies as a narcotic substance. The court sentenced her to nine years in a penal colony.