Brittney Griner Had A Meeting With Russian Officials At The US Embassy: The White House confirmed on Thursday that U.S. Embassy officials in Russia had visited with imprisoned WNBA star Brittney Griner. After the State Department confirmed the meeting, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Air Force One, “We are told she’s doing as well as can be expected under the circumstances.”
Brittney Griner Had A Meeting With Russian Officials At The US Embassy!
For illegally importing cannabis oil (less than one gram) into Russia, Griner received a sentence of nine and a half years in prison. Since her capture on February 17th, she has been locked up. An appeal of Griner’s punishment was turned down by a Russian court last week.
After a “major offer” from the United States to “resolve the current unacceptable and wrongful detention” of Griner and Paul Whelan, another former Marine imprisoned in Russia, Jean-Pierre said on Thursday that Russia has continued to reject the offer. The Biden administration made a “serious” offer to Russia to free Griner in July, and Jean-Pierre told reporters last month that Russia had not responded.
However, “despite a lack of good-faith discussion by the Russians,” the United States “has continued to follow up on that offer and provide alternate viable paths forward with Russians through all available channels,” as Jean-Pierre stated on Thursday. Until this is resolved, it will remain a high priority.
Jean-Pierre did not elaborate on the alternative offer made to Russia
On Thursday, State Department spokesman Ned Price tweeted that the United States “had no intention of” doing anything of the sort. In spite of her current situation, Griner showed fortitude and determination in her meeting with embassy authorities, who “saw it personally.”
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Price reaffirmed the organization’s call for the release of all jailed Americans and added, “We continue to advocate for the prompt release of Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan.”
The Griner family’s representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the embassy officials’ visit.
The United States has long claimed that Griner’s detention was “wrongful.”
Last week, a Russian court rejected Griner’s appeal, prompting her lawyers to announce that they would meet with her to discuss the possibility of further appeals and that they intended to use “all the available legal tools.” Once the appeals process is complete, Griner will be transferred to a penal colony.
Griner, a 6-foot-9 center for the Phoenix Mercury of the Women’s National Basketball Association and a two-time Olympic gold medalist, was held in February at Sheremetyevo International Airport outside Moscow, where she plays during the WNBA offseason. Family and friends used her 32nd birthday in prison to advocate for her release and return to the United States.
Even though media reports indicated a possible swap for Viktor Bout, a Russian arms trader serving a 25-year term in the United States, Russia finally admitted in August that negotiations were underway to free Griner and Whelan.
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In September, President Biden visited with Griner and Whelan’s families at the White House to address their loved one’s incarceration. According to White House spokesman John Kirby, Biden “is not going to let up” on his attempts to have Russia release Griner and Whelan.
Kirby emphasized how important it was to get the two people back to their families at home. This report was compiled with the help of Maite Fernández Simon and Mary Ilyushin.
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