Russia “prepared to debate” prisoner swap now that Brittney Griner sentenced

Russia mentioned Friday it was “prepared to debate” a prisoner swap with Washington on the presidential stage, a day after the drug conviction of U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner.

Regardless of tensions hovering between Russia and the U.S. for the reason that launch of Moscow’s navy intervention in Ukraine, the previous Chilly Conflict rivals gave the impression to be edging nearer to a brand new prisoner change.

The White Home has urged Russia to simply accept its provide of a deal for the discharge of Griner and former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan, who was sentenced to 16 years in jail on espionage costs.

Russia’s International Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday mentioned Moscow was prepared to debate the matter.

“We’re prepared to debate this topic, however solely throughout the framework of the (communication) channel established by presidents Putin and Biden,” Lavrov advised a press convention on a go to to Cambodia.

Viktor Bout, Russian arms supplier, at middle of potential prisoner swap


“There’s a particular channel established by the presidents and regardless of sure public declarations, it’s nonetheless practical,” he added.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who spoke to Lavrov concerning the change final Friday, mentioned Washington will probably be “pursuing” discussions with Russia.

He additionally mentioned Griner’s conviction put a highlight on the “Russian authorities’s use of wrongful detentions to advance its personal agenda utilizing people as political pawns”.

WNBA participant Griner was sentenced to 9 years in a Russian penal colony Thursday and ordered to pay a positive of 1 million rubles ($16,590) for possessing and smuggling narcotics.

The 2-time Olympic basketball gold medalist and Girls’s NBA champion was detained at a Moscow airport in February after she was discovered carrying vape cartridges with hashish oil in her baggage.

The Phoenix Mercury participant was coming to Russia to play membership basketball with UMMC Ekaterinburg throughout the U.S. low season — a typical path for American stars looking for extra earnings.

Griner pleaded responsible to the costs, however mentioned she didn’t intend to interrupt the regulation or use the banned substance in Russia.

“I would like the court docket to grasp it was an trustworthy mistake that I made whereas speeding, beneath stress, making an attempt to get well from post-Covid and simply making an attempt to get again to my workforce,” Griner mentioned in her ultimate assertion earlier than the decision.

Griner had testified that she had permission from a U.S. physician to make use of medicinal hashish to alleviate ache from her many accidents, and had by no means failed a drug check.

The usage of medical marijuana isn’t allowed in Russia.

Griner’s authorized workforce mentioned they plan to attraction the “unreasonable” verdict.

President Biden known as Griner’s conviction “unacceptable” and mentioned Washington would “work tirelessly” to safe her launch.

Blinken has mentioned Washington put ahead a “substantial proposal” for the change of Griner and Whelan.

The best-profile Russian prisoner in america is Victor Bout, a 55-year-old arms trafficker, dubbed the “Service provider of Loss of life,” who’s serving 25 years in jail.

There is no such thing as a official affirmation that Washington has provided to change him.

Bout’s spouse, Alla, on Friday expressed her sympathies to Griner’s household, saying she hoped her husband and the US athlete will have the ability to return house.

“Sympathy has no citizenship and nationality, it’s a common human emotion,” she advised Russian information company RIA Novosti, expressing hope that Russia and the U.S. would “come to an settlement.”

Moscow and Washington have already carried out one prisoner swap for the reason that begin of Moscow’s Ukraine offensive.

In April, Washington exchanged former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed for convicted drug smuggler Konstantin Yaroshenko.

In a handwritten letter from Griner that was delivered to the White Home final month, the WNBA participant wrote how terrified she is that she could also be imprisoned in Russia “ceaselessly.” 

Griner’s spouse Cherelle advised “Newsplaneta Mornings” that when she learn the letter, she may really feel the worry that Griner was experiencing. 

“She might be the strongest person who I do know, so she does not say phrases like that frivolously. Meaning she really is terrified that she might by no means see us once more. , I share those self same sentiments,” Cherelle mentioned. 

Cherelle Griner says President Biden wrote letter again to Brittney Griner


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