Convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout takes part in LDPR branch opening in Luhansk
Viktor Bout (Photo:REUTERS/Damir Sagolj)
The Liberal-Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) has opened a branch in the so-called “LNR” with convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout, who was recently released from a U.S. prison, attending the event, Russian state news agency TASS reported on Dec. 18.
The “LNR” or Luhansk People’s Republic, is a sham state let set up by the Kremlin in 2014 after Russian forces invaded and occupied part of the eastern Ukrainian oblast of Luhansk.
Bout, a Russian citizen who was recently released from a U.S. prison in a prisoner exchange, was serving time for illegal arms trading and cooperation with Colombian terrorists. On his return to Russia he said he would enter politics, and joined the LDPR party.
U.S. basketball player Brittney Griner, convicted in the Russia in a case of drug smuggling, was exchanged for Bout on Dec. 8. Saudi Arabia and the UAE acted as mediators in the exchange negotiations.
Bout, nicknamed "Merchant of Death," is a former Soviet military officer who before being exchanged had been a 25-year prison sentence in the United States on charges of conspiracy to murder U.S. citizens, purchase and export anti-aircraft missiles, and providing material support to a terrorist organization.
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