Trevor Reed, American freed from Russia, expected to make full recovery from injuries fighting in Ukraine

Trevor Reed is being treated at the Landstuhl Medical Center Army in Germany.

July 26, 2023, 3:51 PM

Trevor Reed, the former U.S. Marine who was wrongfully detained in Russia before being released in a prisoner swap, has been injured while fighting in Ukraine, according to a Biden administration official.

Reed is expected to make a "full recovery," two sources familiar with the situation told ABC News on Wednesday. He is currently being treated at the Landstuhl Medical Center Army in Germany, according to sources.

Former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed, who was convicted in 2019 in Russia and released in exchange for Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko, talks with ABC News, July 28, 2022.
ABC News

Reed was hit by shrapnel, which struck him in both legs, one source told ABC News.

Reed traveled to Ukraine in November 2022 as a volunteer, with no affiliation with the U.S. government, a source told ABC News.

He was hurt after his unit advanced near the key city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine, where Ukrainian troops have been pushing forward as part of their counteroffensive, one source said. The unit had successfully pushed back Russian forces and recaptured some territory when Reed and others were wounded, one source said.

State Department officials provided assistance to Reed directly after learning he was hurt, ABC News has learned. With the help of a nongovernmental organization, Reed was taken to Germany to receive medical care, State Department Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel said during a press briefing on Tuesday.

Reed "was not engaged in any activities on behalf of the U.S. government," Patel added.

White House spokesman John Kirby said Wednesday that he was "not aware" that the U.S. government knew about Reed’s plans to fight in Ukraine ahead of time.

"Other Americans have fought in Ukraine, unfortunately, and they don't have to report their departure or their whereabouts to the United States government. I'm aware of no information that we had," he said.

Kirby also said he was unaware of any communication with Russia about Reed since he was injured.

A spokesperson for Reed's family declined to comment.

A poster photo of U.S. Marine Corps veteran and Russian prisoner Trevor Reed stands in Lafayette Park near the White House, March 30, 2022, in Washington. D.C.
Patrick Semansky/AP, FILE

Reed was arrested in 2019 when he was visiting his Russian girlfriend, a recent law graduate, in Moscow. He was wrongfully detained for nearly three years.

In April 2022, he was freed as part of a prisoner swap between the Biden administration and the Kremlin.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Tuesday that U.S. officials don't believe Reed's decision to fight in Ukraine should impact efforts to free Americans Paul Whelan and Evan Gershkovich from Russian detention.

Whelan, a businessman and former U.S. Marine, has been in custody in Russia since 2018. Gershkovich, a Wall Street Journal reporter, has been detained since March.

"This case is completely separate," Jean-Pierre said. "They are not the same and they are treated entirely differently."

Secretary of State Antony Blinken echoed those comments during a press availability in Tonga, saying the development "shouldn't have any effect" on efforts to free the two detainees.

"My expectation is that even as we're dealing with all sorts of other challenges in our relationship with Russia, we will and we are determined to bring both Evan and Paul home," he said.

Blinken said Reed's case "underscores why we continue to call on Americans not to travel to Ukraine and to not fight there."

ABC News' Shannon Crawford, Patrick Reevell, Conor Finnegan and Tanya Stukalova contributed to this report.