The Biden administration is offering to release a convicted Russian arms dealer in exchange for Russia’s release of WNBA star Brittney Griner and ex-Marine Paul Whelan.
Russian authorities arrested Griner in February after a drug-sniffing dog at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport alerted its handler to her luggage. Officers found vape cartridges containing cannabis oil inside.
Griner traveled to Russia to play basketball for the Russian Premier League during the WNBA’s offseason.
The eight-time WNBA All-Star and two-time Olympic gold medal winner testified Wednesday that during her interrogation, the translator only told her some of what was being discussed and that officials made her sign documents without explanation.
Griner claimed she had no intention of breaking the law and that the cartridges were there inadvertently.
CNBC has more on the ongoing negotiations, which Secretary of State Anthony Blinken made public today:
“We put a substantial proposal on the table weeks ago,” Blinken told reporters at the State Department.
The nation’s top diplomat also said that he would discuss the offer with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov “in the coming days.”
“Our government has communicated repeatedly and directly on that proposal and I’ll use the conversation to follow up personally and I hope, move us toward a resolution,” Blinken said.
.@SecBlinken: "I expect to speak with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov for the first time since the war began. I plan to raise an issue that's a top priority for us: the release of Americans Paul Whelan and Brittney Griner." https://t.co/2OkCfl5Vjy pic.twitter.com/Mnn86Qidgl
— The Hill (@thehill) July 27, 2022
The Biden administration has described Griner’s arrest, a dramatic turn that came as the Kremlin prepared for war in Ukraine, as wrongful detention. Earlier this month, she pleaded guilty to drug charges in a Moscow court and faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
This article originally appeared in American Liberty News. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of The Republican Standard. Republished with permission.