Erdogan, Putin discuss swap of Russian, US prisoners in Turkey over phone

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal.(photo:instagram)

Istanbul/Moscow, April 29 (IANS) Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed the swap of a Russian pilot and a former US marine in Turkey through a phone call, said the Turkish presidential office.

According to the office’s statement on Thursday, the exchange of Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko and American citizen and former marine Trevor Reed took place on Wednesday under the coordination and supervision of the Turkish National Intelligence Organisation.

Erdogan said in the statement that coordination and close dialogue between intelligence units should be continued to prevent humanitarian tragedies and ensure the establishment of an environment of stability, Xinhua news agency reported.

According to a brief statement issued by the Kremlin, Putin in the phone call thanked the Turkish President for prisoners swap at the Ankara airport.

According to previous reports, Yaroshenko was arrested in Liberia in 2010 on drug smuggling charges and extradited to the United States to serve a 20-year prison term.

Turkey’s English newspaper Daily Sabah said Reed was detained in Russia in 2019 on charges of attacking police officers in Moscow and convicted and sentenced to nine years in prison.

The leaders also discussed the humanitarian issue in Ukraine, particularly taking into account the results of United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ recent visit to Moscow, the Kremlin said.

A round of face-to-face talks between Russia and Ukraine was held in Istanbul in March. Erdogan has repeatedly said Turkey is ready to take the necessary initiative to end the crisis between Russia and Ukraine.

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