A person familiar with the situation told CNN on Tuesday that former US Marine Trevor Reed, who was illegally jailed in Russia for over three years before being released in a prisoner swap, was injured while fighting in Ukraine.
According to the source, after being released from prison in an exchange in April 2022, Reed was taken to a hospital in Kyiv and later transferred to Germany for medical treatment. It was unclear what led to Reed’s wounds during fighting. The news was originally delivered by the Messenger.
At a briefing on Tuesday, State Department senior deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel stated, “We are aware that Trevor Reed was injured while participating in fighting in Ukraine,” and that Reed had been evacuated to Germany with the help of an unidentified non-governmental organization.
Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, a US military facility close to Ramstein Air Base, is where Reed is currently receiving treatment, according to a US official who spoke with CNN. Neither Patel nor any other US administration official emphasized Reed “was not engaged in any activities on behalf of the US government.”
The tweet below verifies the news:
Trevor Reed, the former US Marine who was released by Russia in a prisoner swap, has been injured while fighting in Ukrainehttps://t.co/sSxNNr1Nff
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) July 25, 2023
“And as I indicated, we have been incredibly clear warning American citizens, American nationals not to travel to Ukraine, let alone participate in fighting,” Patel added. “Since the beginning of this war, we have warned that US citizens who traveled to Ukraine, especially with the purpose of participating in fighting there, that they face significant risks including the risk of capture or death or physical harm,” he said.
Patel did not say when the United States government found out about Reed’s battle wounds. The Reed family’s spokesman, Jonathan Franks, declined to comment. At a press conference on Tuesday in Tonga, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that Reed’s involvement in the conflict in Ukraine “shouldn’t have any effect” on the ongoing efforts to free two Americans unfairly held in Russia: Paul Whelan and Evan Gershkovich.
“As I’ve noted before, even with countries where we have profound differences, and almost by definition, countries that are arbitrarily detaining or unlawfully detaining Americans are usually countries with which we have profound differences, we manage to find ways to bring Americans home,” Blinken said.
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Since the beginning of this administration, he said, “we have returned home 29 Americans who were being arbitrarily detained.” “So, my expectation is that even as we’re dealing with all sorts of other challenges in our relationship with Russia, we will and we are determined to continue working to bring both Evan and Paul home.”
Blinken had heard that Reed had been hurt, but he knew nothing more about his condition. This, according to the top US diplomat, is just another reason why Americans should avoid visiting Ukraine. The United States is “of course” worried that the situation with Reed may hamper their efforts to secure the release of Whelan and Gershkovich, according to a government official.
This official, however, emphasized that there is no connection between the two incidents. “This was something an individual did of their own volition and should be treated entirely separately from negotiations for the release of Evan Gershkovich and Paul Whelan,” the official told CNN.
Patel would not speculate on the impact Reed’s fighting in Ukraine would have on negotiations, but said that “as it relates to other American citizens who continue to be wrongfully detained in Russia, as I, as the Secretary, as Matt, as Ambassador Carstens and others have said, we will continue to engage directly with the Russian Federation calling for the release.”
“You’ve seen us do so in the case of Paul Whelan and Evan Gershkovich, and will continue to remain deeply engaged on those issues,” he said. Reed was arrested for drunkenness in Moscow in the summer of 2019, and he will begin serving a nine-year term in Russia for endangering the “life and health” of Russian law enforcement in the summer of 2020.
Reed and his family rejected the allegations against him, and the US State Department recognized his detention as an instance of wrongful detention. Concerns over Reed’s health prompted the United States authorities to work for months to secure his release from a Russian prison in April 2022. It was obtained through a prisoner exchange involving Russian national and convicted drug smuggler Konstantin Yaroshenko.
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