Former US Marine Trevor Reed was injured while fighting in the Ukraine, just 15 months after he was released from a Russian jail in a prisoner exchange.
Reed was rushed to a hospital in kyiv and has since been evacuated to Germany for specialist treatment.
Two anonymous US military officials, who had been briefed on the events, said The messenger that Reed was injured two weeks ago after stepping on a land mine.
Officials said they don’t know the extent to which Reed was injured, but claimed he had suffered shrapnel wounds from the blast.
Sources expressed frustration over Reed’s case due to warnings to US citizens against traveling to Ukraine and the lengths the US went to to free him in April 2022.
Reed was arrested in the summer of 2019 after Russian authorities said he assaulted an officer as he was being taken to a police station after a night of heavy drinking.
He was later sentenced to nine years in prison, though his family maintained his innocence, and the US government described him as wrongfully detained.
Former US Marine Trevor Reed was injured while fighting in Ukraine, just 15 months after he was released from a Russian jail in a prisoner exchange in April 2022.
“Since the beginning of the war, we have warned US citizens who travel to Ukraine, especially for the purpose of participating in fighting there, that they face significant risks, including the very real risk of capture or death,” the source explained to the outlet.
The official emphasized that Reed “did not engage in any activities on behalf of the US government, and…the US government has been extraordinarily explicit in warning Americans not to travel to Ukraine, let alone engage in fighting there.”
It has been claimed that Reed had joined a group of guerrillas on the Ukrainian side in resistance against Russian forces, according to The Messenger.
Thousands of Americans are believed to have traveled to Ukraine to fight, but the full extent of the numbers remains unclear.
Reed had pleaded to return to the US after his injury, but officials said an “issue related to his contract with Ukrainian forces” prevented him.
Reed, who had previously been in a Russian prison since 2019 (pictured), was rushed to a hospital in kyiv and has since been evacuated to Germany for specialist treatment.
The US and Russia were seen doing the swap at a track in Turkey in 2022
Officials also told the outlet that Reed hoped to take his story to the press as a way to “complain about his treatment in the Ukraine” and “advocate for the US government to assist in his evacuation.”
‘[Reed] They had to be discussed about going to the media,’ said one of the US military officials.
The threat to go public is believed to have prompted the State Department to begin efforts to coordinate their evacuation with a non-governmental organization, the officials said, however they did not know which NGO was involved.
‘My own interpretation is that he got what he wanted, he wanted help outside of Ukraine, the [Biden] The administration doesn’t want negative press about Ukraine, so they got help,” an official said.
State Department spokesman Vedant Patel said Associated Press that Reed’s decision to take up arms has potentially complicated US efforts to win the release of two other Americans still being held in Moscow: Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich and corporate security executive Paul Whelan.
His fight also risked a potentially dire scenario if he had been captured and returned to Russian custody after the United States had worked to bring him home.
“As I’ve indicated, we’ve been incredibly clear warning American citizens, American citizens, not to travel to Ukraine, let alone engage in fighting,” Patel said.
“As you know, we are not in a position to provide assistance to evacuate private American citizens from Ukraine, including Americans who choose to travel to Ukraine to participate in the fighting.”
Reed had been in Russia visiting his girlfriend and learning Russian at the time. He is photographed in 2018 in Moscow’s Red Square.
Reed had reportedly been celebrating with his girlfriend, Alina Tsybulnik, and some of his coworkers the night he was arrested in the summer of 2019.
The nature of Reed’s injury was not immediately clear, but Patel confirmed that he was transported out of Ukraine by a non-governmental organization.
Reed was released from Russian custody in April 2022 in a prisoner exchange for a Russian pilot, Konstantin Yaroshenko, who was serving a 20-year federal sentence for conspiring to smuggle cocaine into the US.
Reed was arrested in the summer of 2019 after Russian authorities said he assaulted an officer as police were leading him to a police station after a night of heavy drinking. He was later sentenced to nine years in prison.
The US government described him as wrongfully detained and pushed for his release while his family has claimed his innocence.
Family members were also concerned about his deteriorating health. At one point she said that she was coughing up blood while in custody.
He also went on a hunger strike to protest the conditions in which he was being held.