Russia floats swap for American prisoner as his health deteriorates in Moscow: report
Paul Whelan/CNN screen shot

On Monday, The Daily Beast reported that the Russian government has floated the idea of a prisoner swap for Paul Whelan, a former Marine who is locked up in a Moscow prison and whose health is reportedly failing.


It is unclear exactly who the U.S. would give Russia in return. Some experts have suggested Russia wants the return of Maria Butina, a Russian gun rights activist who was arrested as a foreign agent after she allegedly attempted to infiltrate the National Rifle Association and the Republican Party.

Whelan, a private security executive who frequently travels to Russia, was arrested in December and accused of being an American spy, but his background and the circumstances of his arrest make this exceedingly unlikely. Whelan has made a personal plea to President Donald Trump for help to broker his release.