Russia “willing” to deal with the US on the exchange of prisoners after the conviction of Brittney Griner

The head of Russian diplomacy, Sergei Lavrovdeclared on Friday that Moscow was willing to talk to Washington about a prisoner swap that could implicate the American basketball player Brittney Grinersentenced the day before to nine years in prison for drug trafficking.

LOOK: Who is Sergio Massa, the new “super minister” of Argentina and how does he plan to face the crisis?

The 31-year-old double Olympic champion is immersed in a geopolitical crisis between USA Y Russia at the height of the conflict in Ukraine.

US President Joe Biden on Thursday called the conviction of Griner. The United States accuses Moscow of instrumentalizing its case to extract concessions from Washington.

LOOK: How were the last minutes of Ayman al Zawahiri, the terrorist who died on the balcony of his house in Kabul

The US administration has claimed for several days to have submitted to the Kremlin a proposal to obtain the release of Grinerbut Russian diplomacy reiterated that a swap could only be discussed once the verdict is in.

“We are willing to discuss this issue, but only within the framework of the channel (of communication) that was agreed upon by Presidents (Vladimir) Putin and (Joe) Biden.”, said Lavrov, in a press conference from Cambodia.

“There is a special channel agreed upon by the presidents and, despite some public declarations, it continues to function.”, he added.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who began talks with his Russian counterpart last week about a possible prisoner swap, said Friday that Washington “will continue” to discuss with Moscow.

Blinken also noted that Griner’s sentence highlights the “use of unlawful detention by the Russian government to further its own agenda by using individuals as political pawns.”

LOOK: What was the Operation Storm of the Croatian forces and why is it still an open wound

“serious offer”

A Russian court on Thursday sentenced Brittney Grinerconsidered one of the best basketball players in the world, to nine years in prison for drug trafficking.

The ruling of the Russian body has raised great indignation, especially in the world of sports.

Griner was arrested in February in Moscow with a vaporizer containing cannabis-based liquid.

The player admitted to having been in possession of this substance. However, she claimed to have brought her to Russia inadvertently and use it legally in the USA as an analgesic.

Griner had reached Russia to play before the WNBA season, a common practice among female basketball players in the American league, who often earn more money abroad than in the United States. USA.

The athlete is one of several US citizens currently detained in Russia and whose release Washington wants.

USA reported last week that he presented a “consistent” and “serious” offer to ensure the return of Griner and Paul Whelan, an American serving a 16-year prison sentence in Russia for “espionage.”

“We are ready to discuss this issue, but only within the framework of the communication channel that was agreed upon by Presidents Putin and Biden,” said the head of Russian diplomacy, Sergei Lavrov. (Photo: Russian Foreign Ministry via AP)

Russian arms dealer

According to several American media, it would be a matter of exchanging a famous Russian arms dealer detained in the United States, Viktor Bout, for Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan.

Bout was arrested in Thailand in 2008 and is currently serving a 25-year prison sentence in the USA.

Nicknamed the “merchant of death”, his extraordinary career inspired the film “The Lord of War”, with Nicolas Cage as the protagonist in which he plays a cynical arms dealer.

The arms dealer’s wife, Alla Bout, said Thursday that she hoped for an exchange, expressing “compassion” for those close to him. Brittney Griner. “May God make sure that our countries come to an agreement,” Alla Bout told the Ria Novosti news agency.

Neither Russia neither USA they have confirmed it, and Moscow insists on its desire to keep the negotiations confidential, annoyed by the statements of US officials.

“If the Americans decide again to do public diplomacy and make thunderous statements … it is their business and their problem,” he said, adding that Washington “cannot” work “calmly and professionally” on various issues.

Leave a Reply