Russia takes prisoner swap proposals with U.S. seriously – Kremlin

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Russian President Putin holds annual news conference in Moscow

(Reuters) – The Kremlin said on Friday that it always takes prisoner swap proposals with the United States seriously after Washington said it expected President Vladimir Putin to express a willingness to engage in talks.

“There are existing channels, they should be discreet, that is the only way to achieve results,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, although he cautioned against what he called “megaphone diplomacy”.

The Kremlin has been tight-lipped about the prospect of a prisoner swap with Washington, which may include U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner, sentenced to nine years in a Russian penal colony on drugs charges.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov was quoted as saying on Friday that the idea of a prisoner exchange between the United States and Russia remains open, and that the two sides have certain channels and a schedule for talks on the subject.

(Reporting by Reuters; editing by Guy Faulconbridge)

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