The decade's most triggering comedy
U.S. Marine veteran Trevor Reed, who was released from a Russian prison in exchange for a convicted Russian drug trafficker, has been injured while fighting in Ukraine, the State Department reportedly said on Tuesday.
“We’re aware that Trevor Reed was injured while participating in fighting in Ukraine,” a Biden administration official told The Messenger.
State Department spokesman Vedant Patel told The Associated Press in a statement that Reed did not engage in any activities on behalf of the U.S. government.
“As I indicated, we have been incredibly clear warning American citizens, American nationals, not to travel to Ukraine, let alone participate in fighting,” Patel said. “As you know, we are not in a place to provide assistance to evacuate private U.S. citizens from Ukraine, including those Americans who may decide to travel to Ukraine to participate in fighting.”
According to reports, Reed sustained shrapnel wounds from an explosion several weeks ago and was treated in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, before requesting military medical assistance in Germany or Poland.
Reed was released by Russian authorities last year after serving approximately three years in prison. Reed was charged with violence committed against Russian police officers after a night of drinking in Moscow. According to The Messenger, Reed allegedly grabbed an officer driving a police vehicle, causing the officer to swerve dangerously.
Russian authorities sentenced Reed to nine years in prison despite his denying the allegations.
U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan called the trial “so preposterous that they provoked laughter in the courtroom. Even the judge laughed,” according to The Messenger.
Last year, the Biden administration struck a surprise deal with Russia amid its international conflict with Ukraine. The Russian drug trafficker exchanged in the prisoner swap was Konstantin Yaroshenko, who was serving a 20-year sentence for a conviction of conspiring to smuggle more than $100 million worth of cocaine into the U.S.
Upon returning to the U.S., Reed reportedly joined a group of outside freelance fighters to connect with Ukrainian forces at some point last year.
Russian officials also arrested American journalist Evan Gershkovich on espionage charges earlier this year while he was on a reporting trip in Yekaterinburg, located in the Ural Mountains — becoming the first arrest of an American journalist on espionage charges since 1986.
In addition to Gerschkovich, Russia is also holding U.S. Marine veteran Paul Whelan, who has been imprisoned in Russia for nearly four years and is currently serving 16 years in a penal colony for a crime that he says never happened.
Last year, U.S. officials swapped American WNBA player Brittney Griner, who was held prisoner in Russia after she pleaded guilty to drug charges, with international arms dealer Viktor Bout, also known as the “Merchant of Death.”