In the course of the negotiations on the release of the US basketball player Brittney Griner and another American, Russia is said to have demanded the transfer of the Russian Vadim K., who was convicted in the so-called Tiergarten murder case, according to information from the US government. “They seemed to want a man named […] who the Germans arrested who is a murderer,” US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told ABC on Sunday. However, the Russian request was not considered a serious counter-offer. After all, K. is not in US custody, so Washington cannot intervene either.

As early as July there were reports that Russia had submitted to the United States the demand for Vadim K.’s replacement through informal intelligence channels. According to the reports, the request was already classified as problematic at the time, partly because the 57-year-old is in prison in Germany.

K. was sentenced to life imprisonment in December 2021 for the so-called Tiergarten murder. The Berlin Court of Appeal saw it as proven that in August 2019 he had shot a Georgian and opposition figure of Chechen origin in the Kleiner Tiergarten park in Berlin. The judges were convinced that K. was acting on behalf of Russian state authorities. Moscow rejected this. The Tiergarten murder had led to diplomatic upheavals between Germany and Russia.

The US and Russia on Thursday held a new prisoner swap despite tensions between the two countries over the war in Ukraine. US basketball player Griner, sentenced to nine years in prison in Russia, was exchanged for notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor But at Abu Dhabi airport. But was to serve a 25-year sentence in the US, of which he had only served 14 years (read why But is so important to the Kremlin here). Griner was arrested on arrival at a Moscow airport in February. Cartridges for e-cigarettes with small amounts of cannabis oil were found in her luggage, which she was construed as a criminal offence.

Negotiations for the exchange had been going on for months. The US also wants to free American Paul Whelan, who has been imprisoned in Russia. He was convicted of alleged espionage in 2018.

Sources: ABC, DPA, AFP