(NewsNation) — Bill Richardson secretly flew to Moscow the day before Russia invaded Ukraine.
He was on a mission: Get American Trevor Reed released from prison.
“We got the better deal,” the former New Mexico governor said during an appearance Wednesday on NewsNation’s “Banfield.”
“The important message here is that we will stand for our American hostages, not just in Russia, but in North Korea, all around the world,” Richardson said.
The former governor says the Russians view him a little differently, after having previously dealt with him as United Nations ambassador and former energy secretary in the Clinton administration.
“I met with a number of Russian officials, and I pushed hard for Trevor’s release in exchange for Yaroshenko. But the reality is the credit goes to the president who authorized this release and the negotiation. And Trevor’s parents, because they stayed strong,” Richardson said.
President Joe Biden, who met with Reed’s parents last month in Washington, trumpeted Reed’s release and noted without elaboration that, “the negotiations that allowed us to bring Trevor home required difficult decisions that I do not take lightly.”
The next objective, Richardson said, is to get Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan home. Both Americans remain imprisoned in Russia.
Richardson said the fact that the Russians are still open to negotiating with the United States is a good sign.
“Maybe we can separate the enormous differences on geopolitical issues and deal with humanitarian issues,” Richardson said.