Moscow is ready to argue with Washington an exchange of prisoners involving basketball player Brittney Griner through a presidential communication channel: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said today. “We are ready to discuss this issue, but only within the (communication) channel agreed upon by Presidents (Vladimir) Putin and (Joe) Biden,” Lavrov said at a press conference in Cambodia.
The opening was immediately welcomed by the US. The US will “pursue” the offer made today by Russia to discuss a prisoner exchange involving basketball player Griner, US Secretary of State Antony said. Blinken on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit in Cambodia. “(Russian) Foreign Minister Lavrov said this morning … that they are ready to commit” to an exchange of the detained US star, Blinken said: “And we will pursue it.”
The US basketball star Brittney Griner was sentenced to 9 years after being found guilty of drug trafficking by the Khimki court, on the outskirts of Moscow. Considered one of the best basketball players in the world, she was arrested in February upon her arrival in Moscow on drug possession charges after she was found in her cannabis oil luggage. She was a two-time Olympic champion with the US, the 31 / year old American basketball player, she had pleaded guilty, but claimed to have inadvertently brought the substance to Russia, rejecting the charge of drug trafficking. Prosecutors claim that Griner knowingly hid the cannabis oil in her luggage.
In the midst of the war in Ukraine and the conflict between Russia and the West, the story of Brittney Griner takes on geopolitical contours, as Moscow and Washington discuss the possible exchange of prisoners: an exchange in which the American basketball champion could be part. The US expects the release of Griner and also of another US citizen detained in Russia, Paul Whelan.
“They call me a political pawn, but I hope that politics stays out of this courtroom,” the champion said during the hearing, pleading with the judges not to “put an end to her life” in the final appeal before the sentence in Russia. “I made a mistake in good faith, I had no intention of breaking the law,” she said in the Khimki court. The basketball player, who appeared behind bars and handcuffed, asked “sorry to my team, to my family. I didn’t want to hurt anyone. The only thing I want is to go back to them”.
“Brittney is very sick, it’s hard to talk to her”, the lawyers of the US basketball champion said. Griner’s lawyers have announced that they will appeal the sentence for which they now have 10 days.
“Russia holds” Brittney Griner “unfairly. This is unacceptable and I ask Russia to release her immediately“Joe Biden said, commenting on the basketball star’s conviction by a Russian court.
The US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, expressed concern over Brittney Griner’s “unjust” nine-year sentence and “the Russian government’s use of illicit detentions to advance its agenda, using people as political pawns.” In a statement, the secretary of state assured that the department’s priority is “to work to bring home Brittney and the other American unjustly detained, Paul Whelan”.
Moscow is ready to discuss with Washington a prisoner exchange involving basketball player Brittney Griner through a presidential communication channel: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said today. “We are ready to discuss this issue, but only within the (communication) channel agreed upon by Presidents (Vladimir) Putin and (Joe) Biden,” Lavrov said at a press conference in Cambodia.
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US basketball star Griner sentenced in Russia. Moscow: “Ready to negotiate” – Europe
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