NewsPutin presses for swap: Russian assassin for US journalist

Putin presses for swap: Russian assassin for US journalist

Wladimir Putin
Wladimir Putin
12:32 PM EDT, April 1, 2024

Vladimir Putin is pressuring for the release of Vadim Krasikov, linked to the FSB, in a potential swap that could secure freedom for U.S. journalist Evan Gershkovich, who has been detained in Russia for a year, the BBC reports.

The BBC recalls that Vadim Krasikov, a Russian national associated with the FSB, was found guilty in Germany of murdering a Chechen leader.

Zelimkhan Khangoshvili was assassinated in Berlin in broad daylight by an assailant on a bicycle using a silenced Glock 26. All indications point to Krasikov carrying out this murder under orders from Russian agencies. Following his arrest, he received a life sentence.

In an interview with a pro-Russian American journalist, Russian President Vladimir Putin appeared to confirm suspicions that Russia is seeking Krasikov's release in exchange for Evan Gershkovich, an American journalist for the Wall Street Journal, detained on charges of espionage for over a year now.

Germany's resistance

The BBC notes that the most plausible option for freeing the American journalist involves a swap for the Russian operative, necessitating cooperation among the USA, Germany, and Russia.

Germany hasn't agreed to such an exchange yet. The German judiciary maintains that Krasikov carried out his crimes under direct orders from the Kremlin.

Ulrich Lechte, a member of Chancellor Olaf Scholz's government from the Free Democratic Party, emphasized that Germany "should not grant Russia this favor." He asserted, "Putin's resolve serves as an outright confession and illustrates the reckless extent of Russia's operations in Germany."

The BBC also contacted three members of the government's foreign affairs committee, who have expressed their opposition to Krasikov's release.

According to experts consulted by the BBC, despite any possible political desire for the swap, Germany's legal framework would not permit such an exchange.

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