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Biden released Bout, a Russian willing to fight in the war against Ukraine

The "merchant of death" said he would have "wholeheartedly" supported Russia's earlier invasion of Ukraine.

Viktor Bout

Viktor Bout / Wikimedia Commons.

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Viktor Bout, the arms dealer who was recently released by the Biden administration, expressed his support for Russia's invasion of Ukraine and even claimed that if he had the opportunity "he would have gone as a volunteer."

In an interview on a Russian state television program with host Maria Butina, the so-called "merchant of death" said that he not only supports "the military operation" orchestrated by Vladimir Putin, but also believes that it should have happened earlier.

"Yes, clearly the conditions were not right and we were not ready, but I would have supported it wholeheartedly," he said.

The controversial opinion of the former Russian military officer comes just two days after the controversial exchange between Bout and Brittney Griner, an American basketball player who was imprisoned in Russia.

The swap agreed between Biden and Putin has been highly criticized for the inequitable nature of having released an arms dealer and former Russian military officer sentenced to 25 years in prison for conspiring to murder Americans, and a sportswoman sentenced to nine years in prison after being caught with a single gram of cannabis oil.

Bout's reputation

Viktor Bout is a Russian pilot, businessman and former military officer who has been indicted for various crimes over the years.

As reported by CNN, the "merchant of death" has been accused of having worked in Russian intelligence and having become a highly relevant asset for them, especially in terms of arms supply.

In fact, investigations by the United Nations (UN) have indicated that he organized a fleet of airplanes to traffic arms into conflict zones in Africa such as Liberia, Sierra Leone and Congo during the 1990s and early 2000s.

In 2004, the United States even opted to freeze his assets in the country, but it was not until 2008 that the authorities managed to arrest him.

The operation was led by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) after they posed as the guerrilla organization Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC).

"Viktor Bout has been the number one enemy of international arms trafficking for many years, arming some of the world's most violent conflicts," said Preet Bharara, former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.