"I have not heard such statements, so I cannot say anything… Russia never uses people as pawns in a diplomatic game. Russia does engage in counterintelligence activities regarding those who are suspected of spying, this, yes, regularly. But nobody in Russia has ever used people as pawns," Peskov told reporters when asked to comment on a potential exchange.
The presidential spokesman said that special services and the Russian Foreign Ministry had made their statements on the detention of Whelan.
"I do not have anything to add to that at the moment," Peskov said.
Recently, Whelan's Russian lawyer, Vladimir Zherebenkov, said that he could be exchanged for a Russian national Maria Butina, according to ABC News.
Paul Whelan, a former US marine, officially employed as director of global security for a Michigan-based automotive parts supplier, was detained in Moscow on December 28, with Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) filing a criminal case against him over allegations of espionage, he faces a prison sentence of up to 20 years.
Earlier, in July 2018, US authorities arrested Russian citizen Maria Butina after she pleaded guilty earlier to one count of conspiracy to act as a foreign agent in the United States.
Initial charges against her carried a prison sentence of up to 15 years. The next hearing in Butina case is set for February 13 and she may be sentenced to five years in prison and eventually deported to Russia.