Who is Vadim Krasikov? Paul Whelan not freed as Russia demands release of convicted assassin imprisoned in Germany
MORDOVIA REPUBLIC, RUSSIA: While WNBA star Britney Griner is back in the US, former Marine, Paul Whelan continues to serve his time in the Russian prison for the past four years. The high-level prisoner exchange on December 8, saw the release of Britney Grinner, 32, for notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, 55. However, it is reported that Paul Whelan, 52, wasn't freed because Russia demanded the release of killer spy Vadim Krasikov, 56, who’s imprisoned for life in Germany to be included in the deal.
Russia was willing to trade Griner for Bout because it considers both of them criminals, The New York Times said Friday, citing unidentified US officials. Eventually, Russia claims that Whelan who is convicted of 16 years in prison on a baseless espionage charge would only be exchanged for a Russian counterpart or someone of similar stature. The US claims the allegations against Whelan are bogus. 52-year-old corporate security executive from Michigan was arrested in 2018 while in Moscow to attend a friend’s wedding.
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Who is Vadim Krasikov?
Convicted assassin Vadim Krasikov, 56, is a former colonel in Russia's infamous FSB intelligence agency. Krasikov was convicted in the year 2021 for the broad daylight assassination of Zelimkhan 'Tornike' Khangoshvili on August 23, 2019. The killer spy used a bicycle to tail Khangoshvili through Berlin before shooting him three times, execution-style, with a silenced Glock 26 pistol in the Kleiner Tiergarten park near Germany’s parliament building, reported New York Post.
Khangoshvili was seeking asylum in Germany at the time of his assassination. He was a former Chechen militia commander who fought against Russia in the early 2000s, due to which prosecutors claimed the hit was ordered by Moscow. Even though German criminals don't serve more than 15 years in prison Krasikov’s sentencing included a finding that would likely prevent an early release, according to Washington Post. Russia wanted Krasikov freed following Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s July confirmation revealed that the US had made a “substantial proposal” to get Russia to release both Griner and Whelan. However, Times reported that German officials refused to release Krasikov when asked by the US, and an American attempt to broker a three-way deal in which Germany would get something also failed.