fbpx
Now Reading
[WATCH] Brittney Griner’s Conviction Re-Opens U.S.-Russia Prisoner Swap Discussions

[WATCH] Brittney Griner’s Conviction Re-Opens U.S.-Russia Prisoner Swap Discussions

One day after basketball star Brittney Griner was convicted of drug smuggling and sentenced to nine years in prison for carrying less than a gram of cannabis oil through a Moscow airport, the United States and Russia have indicated they are ready to hold talks over a prisoner swap for both Griner and fellow imprisoned American Paul Whelan. Held by Russia since 2018 and convicted by a Russian court in 2020 on espionage charges, Whelan has strenuously denied all accusations against him.

Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, told reporters in Cambodia that the Kremlin is “ready to discuss this topic, but within the framework of the channel that has been agreed by the presidents,” state news agency RIA Novosti reported. “There is a specified channel that has been agreed upon by [Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Joe Biden], and no matter what anyone says publicly, this channel will remain in effect,” Lavrov reportedly said Friday at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit.

[Lorie Shaull, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons]
Shortly afterward, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said at the same summit that the US will “pursue” talks with Russia. “We put forward, as you know, a substantial proposal that Russia should engage with us on. And what Foreign Minister Lavrov said this morning and said publicly is that they are prepared to engage through channels we’ve established to do just that. And we’ll be pursuing that,” Sec. Blinken told reporters at a press briefing.

President Joe Biden said later on Friday that he’s hopeful about efforts to secure Griner. “I’m hopeful. We’re working hard,” President Biden told reporters outside the White House.

Russian government officials requested last month that a former colonel from the country’s domestic spy agency, who was convicted of murder in Germany last year, be included in the US’ proposed swap of notorious arms dealer Viktor Bout for Griner and Whelan.
What's Your Reaction?
Excited
0
Happy
0
In Love
0
Not Sure
0
Silly
0

© 2021 Hillreporter.com

Scroll To Top