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The Kremlin Open To Discussing Prisoner Swap Involving Brittney Griner



The Kremlin Says It's Open To Discussing Prisoner Swap Involving Brittney Griner

The Kremlin Says It’s Open To Discussing Prisoner Swap Involving Brittney Griner

The Kremlin said Friday that it’s open to talking about a possible prisoner exchange involving American basketball star Brittney Griner but strongly warned Washington against publicizing the issue.

Griner, a two-time U.S. Olympic champion and an eight-time all-star with the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, has been detained in Russia since Feb. 17 after police at Moscow’s airport said they found vape cartridges containing cannabis oil in her luggage.

A judge convicted the 31-year-old athlete Thursday of drug possession and smuggling, and sentenced her to nine years in prison. The politically charged case comes amid high tensions between Moscow and Washington over Russia’s military action in Ukraine.

In an extraordinary move, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke last week to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, urging him to accept a deal under which Griner and Paul Whelan, an American jailed in Russia on espionage charges, would go free.

According to The Daily Mail, a source close to the negotiations claims that the swap could take place within the next month. This deal has been circulating for weeks with Biden proposing the freedom of Griner and Paul Whelan, another citizen being held prisoner, in exchange for “Merchant of Death” arms dealer, Viktor Blount.

The Russians didn’t agree to the deal because they wanted to complete the sentencing due to the need for judicial process. The deal to swap Griner with Bout is planning to happen now more likely than ever. It is reportedly could be completed within a month if there are no delays to the process.

“The US position has weakened now. They showed their hand and now their bargaining position has weakened,”the source said.

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