Ex-Marine Freed in Russia Prisoner Swap Now Wants Help to Get Out of Ukraine

REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

A former U.S. Marine who was freed from Russian custody via a prisoner exchange negotiated by the Biden administration in 2022 has been injured while fighting against Russian forces in Ukraine, a Biden administration official told The Daily Beast.

The Marine, Trevor Reed, is in Germany receiving medical attention following his injury, the official said. He traveled there with the support of an NGO.

Trevor Reed, who spent more than two years wrongfully detained in Russia, reportedly pleaded for help once again after injuring himself in battle in Ukraine, according to The Messenger, which first reported the news. Reed reportedly requested help from the U.S. government after stepping on a landmine about two weeks ago.

Reed was first detained Russian in 2019 after a drunken night and was released last year, after months of negotiating both before and after Russia’s invasion into Ukraine. He had originally been sentenced to nine years in prison.

Trevor Reed on How a Drunken Night Turned Into 985 Days in a Medieval Russian Prison

The Biden administration official clarified that Reed was not deployed on a U.S. mission in Ukraine.

“Since the beginning of the war, we have warned that U.S. citizens who travel to Ukraine, especially with the purpose of participating in fighting there, that they face significant risks, including the very real risk of capture or death,” the official told The Daily Beast.

“The United States is not able to provide assistance to evacuate U.S. citizens from Ukraine, including those Americans who may decide to travel to Ukraine to participate in the ongoing war,” the official added.

According to CNN, Reed was transported to a Kyiv hospital before being evacuated to Germany.

The Weatherman Foundation worked to help Reed make his way to Germany, but was not ultimately responsible for Reed’s evacuation, a representative for the foundation told The Daily Beast.

“The RT Weatherman Foundation effectively advocated at critical points and with key decision makers in DC, Kyiv and Germany for successful evacuation,” the representative said. “But we didn’t physically move him.”

American citizens, including Marines and other veterans, have been traveling to Ukraine to help counter Russia’s invasion since the beginning of the war, motivated by the atrocities Russian President Vladimir Putin has unleashed in the country. Some who volunteered to fight have not been so lucky to escape the war with their lives.

Americans Who Fought Putin Share ‘Horrifying’ War Surprises

Reed’s decision to fight in Ukraine has raised questions over whether Russia would be able to identify him as a high-value target in the war. (The State Department declined to answer questions about the possibility Tuesday.)

Reed’s case is not going to impact the way the Biden administration fights to bring other American detainees home from Russia, including Paul Whelan and Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, the State Department told reporters Tuesday.

“As it relates to the other American citizens who continue to be wrongfully detained in Russia… we will continue to engage directly with the Russian Federation calling for their release,” State Department principal deputy spokesperson, Vedant Patel, said. “You’ve seen us do so in the case of Paul Whelan, Evan Gershkovich, and we’ll continue to remain deeply engaged on those issues.”

Reed's family declined to share a comment through a spokesperson.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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