Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko, who is serving a prison term in the United States, was encouraged by Russia’s proposal to exchange him to several US citizens jailed in Russia, his wife Viktoria Yaroshenko told TASS.
"The news encouraged him, cheered him up, I can feel a certain note of optimism in his voice," she said.
Commenting on the physical health of her husband, who earlier sought medical assistance in connection with numerous health complaints, Viktoria said he was "feeling neither better, nor worse."
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Monday Moscow called on Washington to resolve the situation over the exchange of prisoners, including Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko, not waiting for a verdict to US citizen Paul Whelan who was arrested in Russia. "We would like to call on the American side to resolve the situation on a reasonable, well-balanced basis, not waiting even for a verdict to Mr. Whelan," he said.
Yaroshenko was sentenced to 20 years in jail in the United States on September 7, 2011. He had been brought to the United States from Liberia after being arrested on May 28, 2010. Agents from the US Drug Enforcement Administration operating in disguise allegedly exposed his criminal intentions to transport a large batch of cocaine.
Yaroshenko underwent a surgery in 2017, but proper post-operation treatment was denied to him. Earlier this year, doctors at the Danbury prison had removed benign tumors from his stomach.
Russian officials and the pilot’s family have on numerous occasions requested that Washington extradite him to Russia.