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General Petraeus on Griner release: Hate to ‘reward’ Russia for trade, Viktor Bout has ‘blood on his hands’


EXCLUSIVE: Former CIA director General David Petraeus said that while a prisoner swap is not “unreasonable” to bring Americans home, it is not ideal for the United States to “reward” Russia by returning a dangerous Russian arms dealer with the “blood of many people on his hands.”

President Biden announced Thursday that Brittney Griner, WNBA star he had been released from Russian custody approximately 10 months after being arrested for bringing vape cartridges containing hashish oil through a Moscow airport. He gave her up in exchange for the release of convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout, who was once nicknamed “the merchant of death.”

During an interview with Fox News Digital at the Aspen Security Forum in Washington, DC, Petraeus said it is an “understandable imperative” that countries engage in prisoner exchanges to bring their citizens home safely. However, he also acknowledged that Bout’s bloody record complicates the matter, calling him a “very reprehensible individual.”

WHO IS VIKTOR BOUT, RUSSIA’S ‘DEATH MERCHANT’ RELEASED IN PRISONER EXCHANGE FOR BRITTNEY GRINER?

General David Petraeus acknowledged that Bout’s bloody history complicates the matter, calling him a “very reprehensible individual.”
(AP)

“I don’t think this is entirely unreasonable. You know, all countries want their citizens back. Ukraine and Russia are doing this again,” Petraeus explained.

“In a sense, you hate to reward what Russia does, in certain cases, if you’re talking about the case of the professional basketball player. You hate to reward Russia for doing something like that.”

BRITTNEY GRINER RELEASED FROM RUSSIAN PRISON IN EXCHANGE FOR CONVICTED ARMS DEALER

“But on the other hand, I think it’s an understandable imperative to get our citizens home, and sometimes that requires us to take steps that, you know, we’d rather not take, because, again, the individual ready to come back is a very , very reprehensible with the blood of many people on their hands,” the general continued.

“But that’s the reality of the world, and we’ve done it, both administrations have done it repeatedly over the years, and I suspect it will continue.”

President Biden spoke about the release of Olympian and WNBA player Brittney Griner from Russian custody, at the White House.

President Biden spoke about the release of Olympian and WNBA player Brittney Griner from Russian custody, at the White House.
(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Paul Whelan, a US Navy veteran, was not involved in the exchange. Whelan was sentenced to 16 years in 2018 on espionage charges.

“After months of being wrongfully detained in Russia, held under intolerable circumstances, Brittney will soon be back in the arms of her loved ones and she should have been there all along,” Biden said Thursday at the White House.

The prisoner swap comes as the Russian-initiated war against Ukraine nears its one-year mark.

Petraeus told Fox News Digital that he thinks the Russians are losing the war, but that doesn’t mean the conflict will end anytime soon.

WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner listens to the verdict in a court in Khimki, outside Moscow, Russia, Thursday, August 4, 2022.

WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner listens to the verdict in a court in Khimki, outside Moscow, Russia, Thursday, August 4, 2022.
(Evgenia Novozhenina/Pool Photo via AP)

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“The Russians are losing this war. That doesn’t mean it’s going to end anytime soon. It’s impossible to predict whether it will be once, a year or years before a really crucial calculation is reached in the Kremlin, which is that this war is unsustainable. for Russia,” he said.

“I think at this moment, Vladimir Putin still thinks that the Russians can suffer under the Ukrainians and the Americans, just as the Russians suffered under the Nazis, World War II and Napoleon’s army a couple of centuries before.”

“And we have to convince them that’s not the case,” he said.



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