• Wed. Apr 17th, 2024

Trevor Reed: Former US Marine who was released by Russia in prisoner swap injured while fighting in Ukraine, source says

Trevor Reed: Former US Marine who was released by Russia in prisoner swap injured while fighting in Ukraine, source says





CNN
 — 

Trevor Reed, the former US Marine who was wrongfully detained in Russia for nearly three years before being released in a prisoner swap, was injured while fighting in Ukraine, a source familiar with the matter told CNN Tuesday.

Reed, who was freed in a prisoner swap in April 2022, was transported to a hospital in Kyiv and was evacuated to Germany for medical care, the source said.

The circumstances around Reed’s injury in combat were not immediately clear.

The Messenger was first to report the news.

“We are aware that Trevor Reed was injured while participating in fighting in Ukraine,” State Department principal deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel said at a briefing Tuesday, adding that Reed was evacuated to Germany with the support of an unnamed NGO.

A US official told CNN that Reed is being treated at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, a US military hospital near Ramstein Air Base.

Patel and another US administration official stressed that Reed “was not engaged in any activities on behalf of the US government.”

“And as I indicated, we have been incredibly clear warning American citizens, American nationals not to travel to Ukraine, let alone participate in fighting,” Patel added.

“Since the beginning of this war, we have warned that US citizens who traveled to Ukraine, especially with the purpose of participating in fighting there, that they face significant risks including the risk of capture or death or physical harm,” he said.

Patel did not provide details on when the US government became aware of Reed’s injuries in conflict.

Jonathan Franks, a spokesperson for the Reed family, declined to comment.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken at a news conference Tuesday in Tonga said that Reed’s fighting in Ukraine “shouldn’t have any effect” on ongoing negotiations aimed at freeing two Americans who remain wrongfully detained in Russia: Paul Whelan and Evan Gershkovich.

“As I’ve noted before, even with countries where we have profound differences, and almost by definition, countries that are arbitrarily detaining or unlawfully detaining Americans are usually countries with which we have profound differences, we manage to find ways to bring Americans home,” Blinken said.

“Since the start of this administration, we’ve brought home 29 Americans who were being arbitrarily detained,” he continued. “So, my expectation is that even as we’re dealing with all sorts of other challenges in our relationship with Russia, we will and we are determined to continue to work to bring both Evan and Paul home.”

While aware of reports that Reed was injured, Blinken did not have any additional information on his condition. The top US diplomat also said it underscored why the US warns Americans against traveling to Ukraine.

A US official said that “of course” they are concerned that the development with Reed will negatively impact efforts to negotiate the release of Whelan and Gershkovich.

However, this official stressed that the two issues are wholly separate.

“This was something an individual did of their own volition and should be treated entirely separately from negotiations for the release of Evan Gershkovich and Paul Whelan,” the official told CNN.

Patel would not speculate on the impact Reed’s fighting in Ukraine would have on negotiations, but said that “as it relates to other American citizens who continue to be wrongfully detained in Russia, as I, as the Secretary, as Matt, as Ambassador Carstens and others have said, we will continue to engage directly with the Russian Federation calling for the release.”

“You’ve seen us do so in the case of Paul Whelan and Evan Gershkovich, and will continue to remain deeply engaged on those issues,” he said.

Reed was arrested in Moscow in the summer of 2019 for intoxication, and was sentenced to nine years in prison in July 2020 for endangering the “life and health” of Russian police officers in an altercation. Reed and his family denied the charges against him, and he was designated as wrongfully detained by the US State Department.

His release from Russian prison in April 2022 came after months of effort by the US government, officials said, and was particularly urgent given concerns about Reed’s health. It was ultimately secured through a prisoner swap for Russian citizen Konstantin Yaroshenko, a Russian smuggler convicted of conspiring to import cocaine.

This story has been updated with additional information.



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