ROSTOV-ON-DON, July 16 (RIA Novosti) – The mother of a Russian pilot who was jailed in the United States for drug trafficking asked Russia’s Foreign Ministry on Tuesday to swap her son for US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden.
The pilot, Konstantin Yaroshenko, was arrested in Liberia in an undercover operation in May 2010 and brought to the United States shortly after. In April 2011, he was sentenced to 20 years for colluding to smuggle cocaine into the United States.
“I asked [Russian Foreign Minister Sergei] Lavrov to swap Kostya for Snowden. … What do we need this Snowden for?” the mother, Lyubov Yaroshenko, told RIA Novosti, using a diminutive form of her son's first name.
In early May, the mother requested the Russian government to consider swapping her son for a US national convicted in Russia. Her request is currently being considered by the Foreign Ministry.
Snowden has been holed up at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport since arriving from Hong Kong on June 23. He has submitted an official request for temporary asylum in Russia, a lawyer who provided him with legal assistance said Tuesday.