– There is no finalized agreement. It is well known that while issues like this are being discussed, information exchanges are not taking place,” said Dmitry Pesko, who added that any announcements are made when agreements are finalized.
Brittney Griner — Photo: Pavel Pavlov/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova declined to comment on Thursday whether Russia is negotiating a prisoner swap for Griner and Whelan. However, she said that Russia’s interests must be taken into account along with those of the United States. Furthermore, she reiterates that there was no “concrete result” in the negotiations to release prisoners.
The Americans suggested sending Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer nicknamed “The Merchant of Death.” His story was based on the movie “Lord of Arms” starring Nicolas Cage.
Blinken said he will meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to discuss the negotiations. This was the first public statement by the United States admitting the possibility of negotiating a prisoner exchange.
“My hope is that, in the conversation with Minister Lavrov, I will be able to advance the efforts to bring them home,” Antony said.
Also according to the Secretary of State, President Joe Biden was directly involved in the talks and signed the official proposal aimed at Moscow.
Griner went to court for the sixth time on Wednesday in a trial that began on July 1. She was arrested for drug possession while carrying vape pods containing marijuana. According to the athlete, she uses the substances to treat pain and injuries. If convicted, Brittney Griner could face 10 years in prison in Russia.