‘Merchant of Death’ Offers Russia Help in Ukrainian Invasion


With WNBA star Brittney Griner now safely back in the United States, some Americans are beginning to wonder just how raw a deal the US got in negotiating her release.

Griner was freed from a Russian prison in a prisoner swap, having been traded for the notorious “merchant of death” Viktor Bout – an international arms dealer that the US had been rather proud of nabbing several years back.

The trade felt more than a little lopsided to many, and now Bout’s release poses a new threat to the world as he begins publicly offering to help Russia win the war in Ukraine.

Infamous Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, released by the U.S. government last week in exchange for basketball player Brittney Griner, said on Saturday that he wholeheartedly supports Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and wishes he could join the fighting.

“To be honest, I couldn’t even understand why we did not do it earlier,” Bout said in an interview on the state-run Russia Today network (RT).

And also:

The interview was conducted by Maria Butina, who was herself incarcerated in the United States for espionage during the 2016 presidential campaign, and was elected to the Russian parliament after her release. Butina celebrated Bout’s release by President Joe Biden as a sign of Russia’s “strength” relative to the weak Biden administration.

“Why in 2014, you know, there were demonstrations in Kharkiv, people were carrying enormous tricolors and shouting, ‘Russia, Russia, Russia,’ in Donbas and Odesa, as well, you know!” Bout exclaimed.

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

Bout then took things a step further.

Bout said that if he had the “opportunity and necessary skills,” he would volunteer to join the Russian invasion force. Bout was a Soviet air force pilot before launching his lucrative career as the “Merchant of Death,” and at 55 he is younger than some of the recruits Putin is sending to Ukraine, so he would certainly seem to have the necessary skills to help the stalled invasion if he feels so inclined.

“The West believes that they did not finish us off in 1990, when the Soviet Union began to disintegrate,” Bout told RT, harkening back to his days in the Soviet military. “They think that they can just destroy us again and divide Russia.”

This sentiment and willingness to engage in Ukraine will almost certainly raise concerns among Americans about the decisions being made by the Biden administration, at least in regard to foreign policy.