Russian officials offered to exchange up to 15 US citizens serving sentences in Russia for convicted Russian arms dealer Victor Bout, revealed his wife Alla Bout at a press conference in the Russian Consulate General building in New York on Tuesday.

Alla Bout said "some steps taken by Russian government" to agree a prisoner swap but the US side refused the offer, stating that the citizens were of "little interest" to them. She added that the US continues to imprison Bout "as a warning to others".

She also accused the US government of running "a calculated public opinion campaign" against her husband.

"It is [useless] for me to apply to American funds from the point of view of some defence lawyers, I think, they would rather advocate for Sentsov and Pussy Riot activists than Victor Bout."

The man widely known as the 'Merchant of Death' is serving a 25-year prison term at a Virginia jail after being convicted of illegally selling weapons to the FARC in 2011.

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