(Moscow) Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, recently freed by Washington as part of a prisoner exchange with Russia, offered former US President Donald Trump on Friday to seek refuge in Russia, saying that he was risking his life in the United States.

“The [President Joe] Biden administration will not just drag you through the justice and prison system. She would rather end your life than let you get in her way,” reads a telegram sent by Mr. Bout to Mr. Trump.

“You will be welcome in Russia, you will find a haven there, and from here you can lead the fight for the American people,” he continued in the letter, which he sent from Moscow in front of journalists.

Arrested in 2008 in Thailand, Victor Bout was sentenced in the United States to 25 years in prison.

He was handed over to Russia last December in exchange for American basketball player Brittney Griner, who had been convicted of drug trafficking.

Moscow and Washington have made several similar exchanges in recent years.

Russia still holds at least three Americans in its prisons, including American journalist Evan Gershkovich, arrested last week for espionage, a first since Soviet times, sparking outcry among Westerners.

Russian-American relations have been at their lowest since the Russian army launched its offensive against Ukraine.