Russian foreign affairs chief Sergey Lavrov said on Friday that Moscow was ready to talk to Washington about a prisoner exchange in which American basketball player Britney Griner may have been sentenced to nine years in prison for drug trafficking the day before. Declared that there is
The 31-year-old two-time Olympic champion is immersed in a geopolitical crisis between the United States and Russia in the midst of conflict in Ukraine.
US President Joe Biden said Thursday that Griner’s conviction was “unacceptable.” The US accuses Moscow of using tools to extract concessions from Washington.RELATED
For days, the US government has claimed to have submitted a proposal to the Kremlin for Griner’s release, but Russian diplomacy has reiterated that a replacement can only be discussed after a verdict has been handed down.
good wind for the dam
“We are ready to discuss this issue, but only within the channels (of communication) agreed upon by Presidents (Vladimir) Putin and (Joe) Biden,” Lavrov told a news conference from Cambodia. rice field.
“There is a special channel agreed by the president and despite some public declarations it continues to work,” he added.
US Secretary of State Anthony Brinken, who last week began talks with his Russian counterpart about a potential prisoner exchange, said on Friday that Washington would “continue” talks with Moscow.
Brinken also noted that Griner’s ruling highlights how the Russian government “uses unlawful detention to further its own ends by using individuals as political pawns.” .
‘A serious offer’
A Russian court on Thursday sentenced Brittney Griner, considered one of the world’s greatest basketball players, to nine years in prison for drug trafficking.
The Russian ruling caused a great deal of outrage, especially in the world of sports.
Griner was arrested in Moscow in February for a vaporizer containing a cannabis-based liquid.
The player admitted to possessing this substance. However, he claimed to have inadvertently brought it to Russia and used it legally in the United States as a pain reliever.
Griner had come to Russia to play before the WNBA season. This is a common practice among women’s basketball players in the American Her League, who often make more money abroad than in the United States.
The athlete is one of several US citizens currently detained in Russia, whom Washington hopes will be released.
The US reported last week that Americans serving 16-year prison sentences in Russia for “espionage” had made “consistent” and “serious” offers to secure the return of Griner and Paul Whelan. did.
Russian arms dealer
According to some U.S. media outlets, it will trade Viktor Bout, a famous Russian arms dealer who was arrested in the U.S., for Britney Griner and Paul Whelan.
Bout was arrested in Thailand in 2008 and is currently serving a 25-year sentence in the United States.
Merchant of Death
Dubbed ‘The Merchant of Death’, his extraordinary career inspired the movie ‘Warlord’ starring Nicolas Cage as a cynic arms dealer.
Ala Bout, wife of an arms dealer, said on Thursday that she expressed “compassion” for those close to Britney Griner and wanted a deal. Please,” Ara Bout told the Ria Novosti news agency.
Neither Russia nor the United States has confirmed this, and Russia, angered by the statements of U.S. officials, insists it wants to keep the negotiations confidential.
“If Americans decide to engage in public diplomacy again and make loud statements…it’s their business and their problems,” he said, noting that Washington has been “calmly and He added that he “cannot” work “professionally.”
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