American flag Volunteers place American flags throughout Tempe Beach Park in Tempe on Sept. 9, 2023. The event is the first stage of the 22nd annual Tempe Healing Field tribute in honor of those killed on Sept. 11, 2001.

Convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout – known by the nickname “The Merchant of Death” – was at the center of a major diplomatic controversy between Russia and the United States last year when he was traded as part of a prisoner swap in return for WNBA superstar Brittney Griner, who was imprisoned in Russia. And now, he’s speaking out about the relationship between the two countries.

During a recent interview with ESPN, Viktor Bout made it clear that he would like to see improved relations between the United States and Russia, even as tensions between the two nations remain high.

“I do believe we have a common ground to have at least normal relation between our countries, but I hope that one of these days, we have a perfect and good economic and people-to-people relation again,” Bout said during an interview with ESPN.

Obviously, relations between the two countries have been strained for years, but that relationship certainly took a turn for the worst when Russia decided to invade Ukraine and the United States condemned the move and has continued to provide support for Ukraine throughout the invasion.

It seems like a long shot that the relationship between the two countries would be improved anytime soon, but it’s clear that’s what Bout wants.