Trevor Reed, the former Marine who was wrongfully detained in Russia for nearly three years before regaining his freedom only weeks ago, rebuked the government that held him for human rights abuses.
Reed, 30, who returned home after the Biden administration agreed to a prisoner exchange in late April, sat down with CNN's Jake Tapper for his first interview since returning to the United States.
FIRST RUSSIAN SOLDIER ON TRIAL FOR UKRAINE WAR CRIMES APOLOGIZES TO WIDOW
"They have absolutely no value of human life, and that apathy permeates every level of the Russian government, and that trickles down from the very top to the lowest level — prison guard, inside of the government, all of their police officers, all of their FSB, everyone who works for that government has absolutely no empathy for other humans," he said.
"That government is really sincerely evil at all levels from the top to the bottom," Reed continued.
Reed was sentenced to nine years in prison in July 2020, roughly a year after he was arrested after an alleged altercation with a law enforcement officer, which he denies. During his detainment, Reed's health deteriorated, and he told Tapper he was sent to a psychiatric treatment facility that housed people with "severe psychological health issues."
"So over 50% of them in that cell were in there for murder. Or, like, multiple murders, sexual assault, and murder — just really disturbed individuals," he explained. "There was blood all over the walls there — where prisoners had killed themselves, or killed other prisoners, or attempted to do that."
Reed's comments about the Russian government come a day before the first Russian soldier was convicted of a war crime in Ukraine.
A court in Ukraine sentenced Vadim Shishimarin, 21, to life in prison on Monday for the killing of an unarmed 62-year-old Ukrainian man in late February in a village in the Sumy region of northeastern Ukraine. He pleaded guilty last week to charges brought under Ukraine's violation of the laws and customs of war statute.
CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER
Shishimarin, reportedly a sergeant and commander of Russia's 4th Guards Tank Division, shot and killed Oleksandr Shelipov as he rode his bicycle in the village of Chupakhivka on Feb. 28, four days after Russia began its invasion of Ukraine. The Russian soldier had driven into the town with four others in a stolen car, fleeing a Ukrainian military attack. He was reportedly ordered to shoot Shelipov from the vehicle with a Kalashnikov rifle out of fear that Shelipov would report their presence to Ukrainian defense forces.
This was the first trial of an alleged Russian war criminal, but the office of the prosecutor general has opened more than 11,000 cases.