Russia confirms prisoner swap talks with US after Britney Griner sentencing


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For the first time since WNBA star Brittney Griner Arrested on drug charges In February, Russia confirmed that prisoner exchange negotiations with the United States were underway.

On Thursday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ivan Nechayev confirmed that talks between the two countries were ongoing.

Britney Greiner is taken from a courtroom after her hearing in Khimki, outside Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022.

Britney Greiner is taken from a courtroom after her hearing in Khimki, outside Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022.
(AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

“Instructions have been given to the official structures to carry out negotiations,” Nechayev said. “They are run by competent authorities,” the Washington Post reported, citing Russian state media.

Britney Greiner’s sentence draws attention to strained US-Russia relations

Griner was sentenced to nine years in a Russian prison last week after being charged with drug possession and drug trafficking.

Greiner admitted to bringing vape cartridges containing cannabis oil into Russia but argued she made an “honest mistake” in doing so.

Brittney Griner trial: Russian court drops verdict, sentence in WNBA star’s case

In late July, Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed that the Biden administration had made a “substantial offer” to Russia to facilitate the return of Greiner and former US Marine Paul Whelan.

  Brittney Greiner stands in the dock before a court hearing on August 2, 2022.

Brittney Greiner stands in the dock before a court hearing on August 2, 2022.
(Evgenia Novogenina/Pool/AFP via Getty Images))

“We put a substantial offer on the table weeks ago to facilitate their release,” Blinken said of the two Americans, according to Axios.

After Griner’s conviction, President Biden called the verdict “Unacceptable” and reiterated that Greiner had been falsely arrested.

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“Today, American citizen Brittney Griner received a prison sentence that is another reminder to the world of what she already knows: Russia is wrongfully imprisoning Britney,” Biden said in a statement.

Brittney Greiner holds a photo during a hearing in Khimki, Russia on August 4, 2022.

Brittney Greiner holds a photo during a hearing in Khimki, Russia on August 4, 2022.
(Evgenia Novogenina/Pool Photo via AP)

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“This is unacceptable, and I call on Russia to release her immediately so she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends and teammates. My administration will continue to work tirelessly and pursue every avenue possible to bring Britney and Paul Whelan home safely. As soon as possible.” .”

Fox News’ Ryan Gaydos contributed to this story



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