Russia Ready To Discuss Prisoner Swap With the U.S. After Brittney Griner's Sentencing

Russia Ready To Discuss Prisoner Swap With the U.S. After Brittney Griner's Sentencing

Updated on August 05, 2022 20:08 PM by Ava Sara

Drug Smuggling Trial In Penal Colony

One day after WNBA actor Brittney Griner was sentenced to a drug smuggling trial in a penal colony for nine years, Russia has indicated it is ready for a prisoner swap, according to multiple outlets.

According to NBC News, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Friday that Moscow was ready to discuss this topic during a news conference at a meeting with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Cambodia.

The presidents have agreed upon a special channel, and no matter what anyone says publicly, this channel remains relevant. Lavrov said about diplomatic talks between President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Brittney Griner A Prison Sentence

American citizen Brittney Griner gets a prison sentence that is one more reminder of what the world knew: Russia is wrongfully detaining Brittney. On Thursday, Pres. Biden called Griner's sentence unacceptable.

 Secretary of State Antony Blinken, at a press conference in Phnom Penh Friday, said Russia is prepared to engage through channels we've established, and we'll be pursuing

that, according to the news outlet.

It is unacceptable, and she calls Russia to release her immediately so she can be with her wife, best ones, friends, and teammates. My administration will join to work tirelessly and pursue every possible avenue to bring Brittney and Paul Whelan home office as soon as possible, the president said in a statement.

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The Biden Administration

Last Wednesday, an official in the Biden administration confirmed that the Biden administration had made a concrete proposal to bring Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan, another American imprisoned in Russia, home weeks ago.

According to CNN, the U.S. offered to trade 31-year-old Griner and Whelan for convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout. The outlet said Russian officials also requested that the U.S. include convicted murderer and former Russian spy Vadim Krasikov in the package.

A U.S. official told Thursday that the Biden Administration is still waiting on Russia to respond to the offer.

Griner Lawyers

Following yesterday's verdict, Griner's lawyers said they are disappointed but also looking ahead to an appeal.

We are very upset by this verdict, Maria Blagovolina, a partner at Rybalkin Gortsunyan Dyakin and Partners, tells just hours after the decision.

Sentences for this criminal court article are usually not so severe. Usually, it's like five and a half or six years. So nine years, it's pretty unusual, and it contradicts the existing court practice in Russia."

Blagovolina and another member of Griner's legal team, Alexander Boykov of the Moscow Legal Center, say they intend to appeal the sentence and must do so within ten days. While they don't know if it will make a difference, Blagovolina says they must try.

She says that we need to use every legal opportunity, and appeal is one of these opportunities.

​​If Russia and the U.S. agree to an exchange, Griner's legal team will drop the appeal process immediately, Boykov says, and the WNBA star would proceed to depart.

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