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Russia: 'Hope remained in soul' - Viktor Bout's family on his return to homeland
05:39

Russia: 'Hope remained in soul' - Viktor Bout's family on his return to homeland

Russian Federation, Moscow
December 8, 2022 at 18:55 GMT +00:00 · Published

Family members of Russian businessman Victor Bout, who was serving a prison sentence in the United States on arms trafficking charges, shared their feelings on his impending return to his homeland during an interview with the Russia-24 television channel in Moscow on Thursday.

"Of course during the last six months, when some information started to come out, there was a great hope that Victor would have a chance to come back home. We are eternally grateful to everyone," Victor's wife Alla Booth said.

The woman added that while her husband was in detention, his family received support and assistance in the release of the Russian citizen. Victor's mother and daughter wrote appeals to the Russian president.

"I think the most important thing is that the work was done, that they didn't forget, that there was support on every [issue]. I say even in the most difficult times there was always support," Alla Bout added.

Bout's relatives were able to fly to the US once in the 14 years of his imprisonment, and kept in touch with Victor by phone the rest of the time.

"We flew with our daughter... They wouldn't give us a visa for almost six months, only thanks to the [Russian] Ministry of Foreign Affairs we got a one-time visa to visit Victor," Alla said.

The family learned of the Bout’s arrival in Russia from State Duma deputy Maria Butina. Bout's wife and mother said they were very worried about Victor's arrival and worried about his condition.

"[I have] terrible chills, heart palpitations... So we learned about it from our friends... I think we'll see him soon," Alla shared her emotions.

The exchange of Victor Bout and American athlete Brittney Griner was announced by the Russian Foreign Ministry on Thursday.

Russian Viktor Bout was arrested in Thailand in 2008 on a warrant issued at the request of the United States by a Thai court on charges of intent to sell missiles to the FARC, a group recognised as terrorist in the United States from 1997 to 2021. The Russian national was extradited to the US in 2010 and was sentenced to 25 years in prison in 2012.

Brittney Griner was detained in Russia in February 2022 after hash oil in her luggage was found. On August 4, Khimki city court of Moscow region sentenced the athlete to nine years in prison. She was found guilty under Part 1 of Article 228 ("Illegal acquisition, storage, transportation of drugs without intent to sell") and Part 2 of Article 229.1 ("Smuggling of drugs in large quantities") of the Russian Criminal Code.

On Thursday, former national security aide to 45th US President Donald Trump, John Bolton, said the citizen exchange between the US and Russia symbolised 'American surrender'.

"The Bout-for-Griner prisoner swap is not a trade, it's an American surrender. This is not what American strength looks like," he wrote on Twitter.

Russia: 'Hope remained in soul' - Viktor Bout's family on his return to homeland
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Family members of Russian businessman Victor Bout, who was serving a prison sentence in the United States on arms trafficking charges, shared their feelings on his impending return to his homeland during an interview with the Russia-24 television channel in Moscow on Thursday.

"Of course during the last six months, when some information started to come out, there was a great hope that Victor would have a chance to come back home. We are eternally grateful to everyone," Victor's wife Alla Booth said.

The woman added that while her husband was in detention, his family received support and assistance in the release of the Russian citizen. Victor's mother and daughter wrote appeals to the Russian president.

"I think the most important thing is that the work was done, that they didn't forget, that there was support on every [issue]. I say even in the most difficult times there was always support," Alla Bout added.

Bout's relatives were able to fly to the US once in the 14 years of his imprisonment, and kept in touch with Victor by phone the rest of the time.

"We flew with our daughter... They wouldn't give us a visa for almost six months, only thanks to the [Russian] Ministry of Foreign Affairs we got a one-time visa to visit Victor," Alla said.

The family learned of the Bout’s arrival in Russia from State Duma deputy Maria Butina. Bout's wife and mother said they were very worried about Victor's arrival and worried about his condition.

"[I have] terrible chills, heart palpitations... So we learned about it from our friends... I think we'll see him soon," Alla shared her emotions.

The exchange of Victor Bout and American athlete Brittney Griner was announced by the Russian Foreign Ministry on Thursday.

Russian Viktor Bout was arrested in Thailand in 2008 on a warrant issued at the request of the United States by a Thai court on charges of intent to sell missiles to the FARC, a group recognised as terrorist in the United States from 1997 to 2021. The Russian national was extradited to the US in 2010 and was sentenced to 25 years in prison in 2012.

Brittney Griner was detained in Russia in February 2022 after hash oil in her luggage was found. On August 4, Khimki city court of Moscow region sentenced the athlete to nine years in prison. She was found guilty under Part 1 of Article 228 ("Illegal acquisition, storage, transportation of drugs without intent to sell") and Part 2 of Article 229.1 ("Smuggling of drugs in large quantities") of the Russian Criminal Code.

On Thursday, former national security aide to 45th US President Donald Trump, John Bolton, said the citizen exchange between the US and Russia symbolised 'American surrender'.

"The Bout-for-Griner prisoner swap is not a trade, it's an American surrender. This is not what American strength looks like," he wrote on Twitter.