The parents of former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed are pleading with Presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin to cooperate and bring their son back home to America.
Paula and Joey Reed were hopeful that the leaders' summit on Wednesday would provide a level of cooperation between the two political leaders. They added their son was being treated as an object for leverage concessions.
In July 2020, Russian authorities sentenced the marine to nine years in prison for allegedly endangering the life and health of Russian police officers during an encounter after drinking. Reed and his family denied the accusations while U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan said the trial was a "theater of the absurd."
Lack of Proper Care
Amid the pandemic, Reed contracted the COVID-19 virus and later wrote a letter to his family that he had been showing symptoms, such as coughing, pain in his lungs, high blood pressure, and weight loss.
The marine wrote the letter, dated June 7, by hand and in Russian as it was one of the conditions set by prison officials. Lina Tsybulnik, Reed's Russian fiancee, translated the contents of the letter for his family, MSN reported.
In the letter, Reed opened up about his COVID-19 diagnosis and other medical problems. He also asked his family to send him toilet paper, water and meat. One part of the letter also addressed the U.S. embassy in Moscow and the State Department, asking if they still remembered his case.
On May 20, Reed was able to get in touch with his parents through a phone call. Their concerns were only amplified after finding out about the letter. They said Russian authorities purposely avoided providing basic health care to their son. The news about Reed having pain in his lungs was especially worrisome, they said.
The marine's parents have been continuously asking the Russian government for the last three weeks to allow Reed to call them and have the embassy visit him. However, all of their requests were denied. They also urged Russian President Putin to allow them to talk with their son as well as send and receive letters. They also wanted officials to acknowledge their lack of care, CNN reported.
Drunk and Rowdy
Officials from the U.S. embassy in Moscow have called on Russian officials to provide access to Reed and his medical records. Charge d'affaires Bartle Gorman accused Russia last Friday of violating conventions. He said authorities were trying to isolate Reed from his family and the U.S. government.
However, Putin called Reed a "drunk" and a "troublemaker" before his summit with Biden in Geneva. The Russian leader also considered the marine lucky to be in prison in Russia, arguing if he had done his crime in the United States, he would have been shot on the spot and killed.
On Monday, Reed's parents countered Putin's statement, arguing the Russian leader's words were offensive. In an interview, Putin said negotiating the terms of release for the imprisoned marine could be talked about, Dallas News reported.