The US government will discuss with Russia a prisoner swap that includes basketball star Brittney Griner, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Friday.
One Russian court on Thursday sentenced the American player from basketball to nine years in prison for drug trafficking.
“(Russia’s) Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated this morning … that they are willing to participate in a prisoner exchange. And we will pursue that,” Blinken said during a meeting with foreign ministers from Southeast Asian countries. in Cambodia.
The arrest and sentence against Griner, sentenced on Thursday to nine years in prison, highlighted Moscow’s “use of unlawful detention to advance its own agenda”, added Blinken, who criticized the use of “individuals as political pawns”.
Brittney Griner, American basketball player, arriving at the Russian court — Photo: REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina
At a Cambodian press conference, Lavrov declared that Russia is willing to “discuss the issue, but only within the framework of the (communication) channel that was established by Presidents (Vladimir) Putin and (Joe) Biden.”
“There is a special channel agreed by the presidents and, despite some public statements, it continues to work,” added Lavrov.
- US pressures Russia to accept prisoner exchange after conviction of basketball player Brittney Griner
Detained in February in Moscow, shortly before the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, with a vape that contained cannabis-based oil, the two-time Olympic champion became yet another element in the geopolitical crisis between Russia and the United States.