The prospect of the United States trading basketball star Britney Greener and Paul Whelan, a former Marine, for a Russian prisoner of war is reminiscent of Washington’s dangerous deals with Moscow and its allies during and after the Cold War.
Experts say such a deal could be the only way to freedom for Mr Whelan and Ms Greener, a two-time Olympian who plays for the Phoenix Mercury.
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If there is an exchange of prisoners, they will join a long line of Americans abducted or arrested abroad, whose release underscored the delicate task of negotiating with warring nations.
Here are some of the most high-profile prisoner exchanges between the United States and other countries:
AT spy exchange since 1962, which has since been portrayed in Steven Spielberg’s film, the United States has traded Rudolf Ivanovich Abel, a Soviet spy, for Francis Gary Powers, an American pilot of the U-2 spy plane shot down over the Soviet Union in 1960. He was eventually released in a dramatic exchange on a fog-shrouded bridge between East Germany and West Berlin.
In 1985, the United States participated in what one US official at the time called “the largest spy exchange” in his memory. Four Eastern Europeans detained in the US for espionage were exchanged for 25 people imprisoned in East Germany and Poland.