Emotional parents of US Marine freed in prisoner swap with Russia say it played out like scene ‘in the movies’

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(Video: CNN)

According to the parents of now-released U.S. Marine Trevor Reed, the U.S. government’s prisoner exchange with Russia was just like the movies.

“They had moved him to a Moscow prison this week. … And then they flew him from there to Turkey. And then Trevor told us that the American plane pulled up next to the Russian plane, and they walked both prisoners across at the same time like you see in the movies,” Reed’s father, Joey, said in a CNN interview early Wednesday.

Joey wasn’t kidding.

Below is the stunning moment in Turkey when the Russians exchanged Reed for Konstantin Yaroshenko, a Russian pilot who was sentenced around 2010 or so to 20 years in federal prison for a “conspiracy to smuggle cocaine into the U.S.”

Reed meanwhile was sentenced to a 9-year prison sentence in Russia for allegedly assaulting a Russian officer after a night of drinking in the summer of 2019.

In the clip above, Reed is seen walking alongside an agent with two bags, and Yaroshenko is seen walking with a single bag and an envelope in his hands. Notice how thin Reed looks. It’s reportedly a stark contrast to how he’d looked prior to his arrest three years ago.

“He looks terrible to us. As his parents, we know he does not look well. Very thin,” Reed’s mother, Paula, said during a press conference later Wednesday.

Their call with their son immediately after the exchange marked the first time they’d spoken to him in years.

“The first phone call we got, he did not sound like himself,” Paula said during the press conference.

But, she added, he seemed in better spirits when they heard from him again later.

“He still looks terrible, but he sounded better. He sounded more like himself,” she said.

According to both her and Joey, as they were speaking with their son during their first phone call with him, they received a call from President Joe Biden.

“As soon as Trevor was released, we were actually on the phone with Trevor when the president called. So — and he — again, totally gracious and wonderful and kind and said he looked forward — he looked forward to seeing us in the White House again,” Joey said on CNN.

Ever since Reed’s sentencing, his parents have been fighting for his release, and on Wednesday, their dreams finally came true. And to the president’s credit, their dream came true thanks to a recent meeting with him.

“We’ve said for a year … we believe that if we can just get to the boss, we can get to the top man in our government, the executive, that we can make this thing happen because of his personality and what Americans know about him,” Joey said during the afternoon press conference.

“You might not like his politics, you might not like certain things about him, but anyone who says he’s not a compassionate and kind man is a liar,” he added.

As of Thursday morning, Reed was finally back in the United States.

“Trevor Reed is back in the United States one day after the Marine veteran was swapped for a Russian drug trafficker in a prisoner exchange between Washington and Moscow. … His destination was not immediately clear. Reed’s parents live in Granbury, Texas, near Dallas,” according to station WTVD

Paula also tweeted about Reed being back in the U.S.:

What’s unclear is why the president hasn’t been as devoted to securing the release of Paul Whelan, an American who was sentenced in 2020 to 16 years in prison for allegedly spying.

Reed’s mother, Paula, is for her part advocating for his release as well and encouraging Americans to use the White House’s “contact” form to follow suit, as seen in the tweet above.

Joey also spoke about Whelan during the CNN interview.

“We want to remember Paul Whelan. And we need to get him out of there. And he’s innocent, along with, you know, dozens of Americans all over the world that we need to get out of those places too,” he said.

“And we just want the president to keep going what he started here and with the couple of prisoners in Venezuela. We need to get all of our Americans home,” Joey added.

It’s unclear whether Biden, who’s currently trailing in the polls and presumably desperate for any wins small or large, will follow through on securing the release of other Americans.

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