NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson is speaking about his role in the release of a former U.S. Marine from a Russian prison. Richardson landed in Moscow the day before the invasion of Ukraine to push for Trevor Reed’s release. “They were on the eve of the invasion. We left the day before. I met with a number of Russian officials and I pushed hard for Trevor’s release in exchange for Yaroshenko. But the reality is…the credit goes to the president who authorized the release,” said Richardson.

Richardson says a series of factors helped pave the way including a private Oval Office meeting between his parents and President Joe Biden, as well as escalating concerns over Reed’s health. He was released to the U.S. in a prisoner exchange for a former Russian pilot convicted of drug smuggling. “We will stand for our American hostages. Not just in Russia, in North Korea all around the world, Iran, where many hostile countries take our prisoners, take our Americans, as bargaining chips,” said Richardson.

Reed was serving a nine-year prison sentence for assault, a charge he denies. U.S. officials stressed that the negotiations for Reed’s release were narrow in scope, focused squarely on the prisoners and not on Russia’s war.