US exploring limited easing of sanctions against Russia – CNN

Oleg Davygora 03:19, 05/12/23 UNIAN

The White House is exploring the possibility of easing narrow sanctions, senior Biden administration officials said.

The White House may ease sanctions against Russia / photo getty images
The White House may ease sanctions against Russia / photo getty images

The Biden administration is looking around the world for proposals that could encourage Russia to release two illegally detained Americans, Evan Hershkovich and Paul Whelan.

The United States currently has no high-ranking Russian spies in its custody, necessitating the need to turn to allies for help, according to current and former US officials .

The Biden administration is casting a wide net, reaching out to allied countries that have Russian spies in their custody to assess whether they would be willing to cut a deal as part of a larger prisoner swap package. But US officials also interviewed allies who had no Russians in their custody to see what might motivate Moscow to release US prisoners.

The White House is also exploring the possibility of easing narrow sanctions, senior administration officials said.

The goal is to bring Whelan and Gershkowitz home in the same deal, US officials said privately, with two US officials telling CNN that the administration wants to see what creative proposals might pique Russia’s interest.

The outreach by US officials extends to some of the countries that have recently arrested alleged Russian spies, including Brazil, Norway and Germany, as well as former Soviet bloc countries, to discuss their inclusion in any potential prisoner exchanges. In Germany, a former Russian internal intelligence colonel named Vadim Krasikov, who is widely considered to be one of the first in the list of prisoners Russia wants to return, is in custody.

Detention of Evan Gershkovich in Russia – details

Wall Street Journal correspondent Evan Gershkovich was arrested by Russian security forces at the end of March. The FSB detained him in Yekaterinburg when he was collecting material for an article about the “Wagner Group” and was just planning another interview.

The Kremlin may use the arrest of Wall Street Journal journalist Evan Gershkovich to get concessions from the US , according to the Institute for the Study of War.


  1. Unfuckingbelievable! Mr. Magoo is doubling down on stupid…or weak…I’m not sure which it is. Last time it was a trade for an international arms dealer for a basketball player. Now this. Guess what happens when the US has a weak president? Yeah, more of the same.

  2. I support an American Presidents working to free American citizens who are being held as political prisoners even if it makes people, perhaps in other countries, cry. It’s the duty of an American president to do so.

    • We Americans do not negotiate with Terrorists. We kill them. Lifting sanctions on the Moscow Terrorists will only encourage them to abduct MORE Americans.

    • No, it’s not. We have a policy for decades not to negotiate with terrorists. The turnip is throwing this overboard, too.

      • Under the Robert Levinson Hostage Recovery and Hostage Taking Accountability Act, the US Congress laid out 11 different criteria that would potentially designate an American as wrongfully detained.

        The State Department reviews all of these cases of Americans held abroad and if one of these criteria is met, then that case receives the wrongfully detained designation and is moved to the Office of the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs, essentially the chief US diplomat or hostage negotiator who works on securing the release of those Americans wrongfully detained abroad.

        That is US law plain and simple. If you don’t like it, then work to change US law. Biden should not disregard US law just because you will insult him if he doesn’t.

      • I don’t think the U.S. ever had this policy. They negotiated with the Taliban, North Korea, Cuba, Iran, the Vietcong and probably a lot of other entities I didn’t know they were negotiating with.

        However, I don’t think any lifting of sanctions should be on the table.
        Yes, I want the Americans to be freed, but doing this will ever cause more Americans to be captured as there is an incentive to do so.

        I would rather work the other way around: free them now, or else! There is still room to expand the sanctions. Forbid any trade, even medicine or food or sanction Russian allies.

        I think what would also work is to limit trade of some goods to 2021 levels: if for example trade to Turkey rose by 250%, it is not unlikely most of it goes to Russia.

        Make U.S. companies responsible for not exporting to Russia. If their products will somehow end up in Russia, they will get fined.

        A solution would for example be to mark certain products like Nike shoes with codes that stand for where they will be exported to.

        In case they end up in Russia and the code says Turkey, the company should make sure that buyer in Turkey will not be provided in the future.

        It probably won’t be this hard to pay some mystery shoppers in Russia to go to shops and check products for these codes or other secret marks.

  3. This is yet another piece of evidence that Biden is non compos mentis. It would be wise for the Democrats to send this old, weak, cowardly man into a nursing home straight away, before he causes more harm to the country.
    For decades, we have had a policy of not negotiating with terrorists. This was for a very solid and good reason. Biden is about to open the door for mafia land to take more hostages to have more sanctions eased or dropped. This will go on in aeternum! Moreover, this will encourage other trash nations and terrorist organizations to also kidnap American citizens! Where will this end?
    Biden is going insane, if he thinks that this is a good idea!

    • onlyfactsplease’s comments are totally whack. For instance, the US designated Iran as a State Sponsor of Terrorism way back in 1984. Yet, the US and Iran reached the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2015 for Iran to dismantle much of its nuclear program and open its facilities to more extensive international inspections in exchange for billions of dollars’ worth of sanctions relief.

      onlyfactsplease wants us to believe that no negotiation took place to reach that deal. Ok, whatever.

      If we are simply talking about the list of Designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations, then Russia is not on it.

      Biden is simply following the law in his efforts to free an American. If following the law and freeing Americans is insane then all aboard the crazy train.

      It’s not dissimilar to Ukraine’s trading Russian captives for the release of Ukrainian ones.

  4. If this is true this is beyond bizarre and bad.
    It only stimulates more people being kidnapped.

  5. Excerpts from the CNN article:

    – “DOJ to oppose prisoner swaps. Many Justice officials believe swaps incentivize the detention of Americans and undermine the effort to extradite foreign criminals so they can be convicted of crimes in the US.”

    – “dangling sanctions relief for Russian groups accused of being involved in taking Americans hostage” (Apparently, it concerne technically not directly Ukraine’s war?)

    – “The US does not currently have any high-level Russian spies in its custody”
    Completely false. Send the orange bastard and the ex raging drooler of FOX NEWS 🙂

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