Kremlin: any talks about Griner swap must be confidential



The Kremlin on Wednesday saved the door open for talks on a doable swap involving jailed U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner however reiterated that any such discussions must be saved strictly confidential.

A Russian court docket on Tuesday rejected Griner’s attraction towards her nine-year jail sentence for drug possession. The eight-time all-star centre with the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury and a two-time Olympic gold medallist was convicted Aug. 4 after police stated they discovered vape canisters containing marijuana oil in her baggage at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport.

Asked if Griner might be freed as a part of a prisoners swap with Washington, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated in a convention name with reporters that “we at all times say that any contacts about doable exchanges can solely be carried out in silence beneath a good lid on any info.”

Griner’s arrest in February got here at a time of heightened tensions between Moscow and Washington, simply days earlier than Russia despatched troops into Ukraine. At the time, Griner was returning to play for a Russian crew throughout the WNBA’s offseason.

U.S. President Joe Biden informed reporters that his administration is in “fixed contact” with Russian authorities on Griner and different Americans who’re detained there. While there has not been progress on bringing her again to the U.S., Biden stated, “We’re not stopping.”

At her trial, Griner admitted to having the canisters in her baggage however testified she packed them inadvertently in her haste to make her flight and had no prison intent. Her protection crew offered written statements saying she had been prescribed marijuana to deal with persistent ache.

Before her conviction, the U.S. State Department declared Griner to be “wrongfully detained” — a cost that Russia has sharply rejected.

U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan stated in an announcement that Biden “is keen to go to extraordinary lengths and make robust choices to convey Americans house.”

In July, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated in an uncommon step that Washington had made a “substantial proposal” to Moscow get Griner house, together with Paul Whelan, an American serving a 16-year sentence in Russia for espionage.

He did not elaborate, however The Associated Press and different information organizations have reported that Washington has provided to trade Griner and Whelan for Viktor Bout, a Russian arms supplier who’s serving a 25-year sentence within the U.S. and as soon as earned the nickname the “service provider of dying.”


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