Russia reportedly asked U.S. authorities to help free a Russian spy imprisoned for murder in Germany in exchange for releasing wrongfully detained ex-Marine Paul Whelan.
American officials told CNN on Friday that they shared multiple other options for the trade but that the Kremlin would only consider former colonel Vadim Krasikov, who is serving a life sentence.
The German government was unwilling to cooperate with the U.S. to free Krasikov, according to contacts on both sides.
Russia and the U.S. agreed on Thursday to exchange WNBA player Brittney Griner, sentenced to nine years for carrying illegal cannabis oil, for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, who is a decade into his 25-year prison sentence for conspiring to murder Americans.
The U.S. allegedly suggested extortionist Alexander Vinnik and cybercriminal Roman Seleznev as candidates to exchange with Whelan, but Russia refused to take either option.
“We have shown an openness to talk about that which is actually available to us and gotten only in response a demand for something not available to us,” a senior Biden administration official told CNN of the situation.