Editorial: Let’s Use the “Trevor Reed” Peace Plan and protect Ukraine
Thank you President Biden and President Putin, Secretary Blinken and Foreign Minister Lavrov for this (former US Marine) Trevor Reed Prisoner Swap.
It is continuing proof of why Diplomacy can never be abandoned; but, rather always embraced with respectful gusto. As the Unjust War in Ukraine gets ready for a long haul and a potential frustrated use of the “Red Button,” Trevor Reed’s freedom is a powerful example of how and why this War can and must stop, and stop now. More death and destruction makes the leap to nuclear annihilation more palatable, and in an emotional moment to press the Red Button. Even brave Leonidas of Sparta would have loved to secure peace and return to his family, than dying heroically on the battlefield. Ukraine has suffered much too much already. Let’s not reduce it all to rubble in a proxy war between Great Powers, that’s been stewing for twenty years, and sadly, Ukraine, denuded of her nukes since the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, was capable of being molested and is the battlefield to resolve pent up un-resolved issues.
The world is suffering bad ripple effects, from deadly inflation to upcoming famine, that will cause internal regime changes, and no nation’s leadership is exempt from voters’ wrath.
This War should never have started. It needs to end, and the new security structure caused by this war, proves the adage: be careful what you wish for. Still, we need to, and can, negotiate a peace; we must negotiate a peace as Trevor Reed’s freedom proves. A negotiated peace avoids playing Russian Roulette with humanity, avoiding global nuclear annihilation. Humility abhors arrogance, and we have too much of the latter for far too long. The Tower of Babel painting by Peter Bruegel The Elder hangs in Vienna, Austria, as a reminder of what ails us all.
Old time kings and present-day generals know that respect must be afforded an enemy on the battlefield. It’s high time for political leaders to do likewise in our political discourse. The fuse for WWIII is lit, and it’s Ukraine. Let’s not let it engulf Europe and beyond; and, instead, save Ukraine, as it would be safe if we had honored the Budapest Memorandum or if she had kept her Nukes.
April 28, 2022
Ravi Batra, Editor-in-Chief
Trevor Reed is free after being wrongfully detained in Russia
After almost three years spent in prison because he was found guilty of an assault on a police officer, ex-marine Trevor Reed was released in exchange with the Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko, convicted of a 20-year US prison term for drug trafficking.
Given the actual relations between the US and Russia, the swap came as a surprise on 27 April. Officials did not specify where the transfer took place. The Russian Foreign Ministry said the prisoner swap took place in an unspecified European country; albeit, reportedly in Turkey. However, the deal it was a delicate diplomatic operation.
US President Joe Biden welcomed the release of Trevor Reed in a statement noting that “the negotiations that allowed us to bring Trevor home required difficult decisions that I do not take lightly. His safe return is a testament to the priority my Administration places on bringing home Americans held hostage and wrongfully detained abroad.”
In a statement, State Secretary Antony J. Blinken said “pleased to announce the release of U.S. citizen Trevor Reed, who was wrongfully detained in Russia. We extend our deep appreciation to our many allies and partners who helped us in this effort.”
Both the President and State Secretary praised the role of US high officials in the deal.
“I also wish to commend Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs Ambassador Carstens, Ambassador John Sullivan, and others in our government who have worked tirelessly to achieve this outcome,” stated Blinken.
The Biden administration remains committed to the cases of other Americans detained in Russia, including Paul Whelan, who was arrested in Moscow in 2018 on espionage charges, and WNBA star Brittney Griner.
“We welcome this important release while continuing to call for the release of wrongfully detained U.S. citizen Paul Whelan,” stated U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. “We also remain committed to securing the freedom of all U.S. nationals wrongfully detained abroad.”
Reed’s case was among the priorities of the Biden administration. The almost 1,000 days in the Russian prison seriously damaged his health.
According to the Russian foreign ministry, the agreement was “a result of a long negotiation process”.
Maria Zakharova, the Russian MFA Spokesperson, on 27 April, wrote in her Twitter account that “as a result of a lengthy negotiation process US national Trevor #Reed, convicted in Russia, was exchanged for Konstantin #Yaroshenko, a Russian citizen, who was sentenced by the US court for 20 years in prison.”
Who is Trevor Reed?
Trevor Reed, a 30-year-old former US Marine, was arrested in the summer of 2019 while on a trip to Moscow. Russian authorities accused him of assault to an officer in a police station, where he was conducted drunk. Consequently, Reed, was sentenced to nine years in prison. The US government considered him as unjustly detained.
Reed, a Texas resident, enlisted in the Marines as an infantryman in 2011. He had been a Marine Presidential Guard, and during the Obama administration, he had the duty of protection of then Vice President Joe Biden at Camp David. He was discharged from the Marines in 2016.
According to the website set up by his family, Reed enrolled in the University of North Texas, where he followed Russian language lessons.
US President supported his family’s efforts for his release, and in June 2021, he said he raised the cases of Reed and Whelan during a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The US agreed to exchange Konstantin Yaroshenko, a Russian pilot sentenced for conspiracy to smuggle cocaine into the US to 20-year federal prison. Yaroshenko was arrested in Liberia in 2010 and extradited to the US.
Statement from President Joe Biden
US President welcomed the release of Trevor Reed in a statement issued on 27 April.
“Today, we welcome home Trevor Reed and celebrate his return to the family that missed him dearly. Trevor, a former U.S. Marine, is free from Russian detention. I heard in the voices of Trevor’s parents how much they’ve worried about his health and missed his presence. And I was delighted to be able to share with them the good news about Trevor’s freedom.
I’m grateful for the tireless and dedicated work of Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs Roger Carstens, U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation John Sullivan, and many others across our government to ensure that Trevor came home safely. The negotiations that allowed us to bring Trevor home required difficult decisions that I do not take lightly. His safe return is a testament to the priority my Administration places on bringing home Americans held hostage and wrongfully detained abroad. We won’t stop until Paul Whelan and others join Trevor in the loving arms of family and friends.”