Russian entrepreneur Viktor Bout, who was exchanged for US basketball player Brittney Griner, said that he did not encounter Russophobia in his prison in the United States.
"I have not come across such Russophobia. Basically, even almost all of my neighbour inmates shared sympathy for Russia. Or if, at least, they did not know anything, they would ask me something about Russia,” Bout said in an interview with RT employee and State Duma deputy Maria Butina.
The prison, where Viktor Bout was serving his sentence, was located in USA's Red Belt. "That was one storey tall America, Bout said.
In 2012, the US Federal Bureau of Prisons decided to send Bout to ADX Florence maximum security prison in Florence, Colorado.
At the same time, Viktor Bout expressed an opinion that the West was shocked by Russia's desire to develop as an independent state.
The West believes that they did not finish us off in 1990, when the Soviet Union began to disintegrate,” he said.
Entrepreneur Viktor Bout was arrested in 2008 in Thailand at the request of the United States. He was accused of illegal arms trafficking and supporting terrorism. Washington believes that Bout was going to supply weapons to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, which the United States recognised as a terrorist organisation. In 2010, Bout was extradited to the United States, in 2012 the court sentenced him to 25 years in prison. He pleaded not guilty.
Brittney Griner is a two-time Olympic champion. In February, the athlete was detained at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport after officers found hash oil vape cartridges in her hand luggage. She said that doctors prescribed cannabis to her, and she forgot to take it out of her bag. The court sentenced Griner to nine years in prison for drug smuggling. In November, she was transferred from the pre-trial detention center to a general regime colony.
Brittney Griner was exchanged for Viktor Bout at the Abu Dhabi airport on December 9. Before this procedure, both prisoners were pardoned. The Kremlin later said that the main result of the exchange with the United States was the fact that Bout, who had been in illegal captivity for 14 years, returned home.
The Griner-Bout exchange issue was handled by US intelligence services. Therefore, it is impossible to disclose its details, Kremlin's official spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
It would be wrong to conclude that the exchange of Viktor Bout for Brittney Griner was a step on the way out of the crisis between Russia and the United States, Peskov said in an interview with Izvestia newspaper.
The Russian-American relations remain in a sad state, Peskov added.
"The negotiations touched upon the topic of the exchange alone. It is wrong to draw any hypothetical conclusions that this could be a step towards a way out of the crisis that we have in the bilateral relations," Peskov said.
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