US offers prisoner swap to Russia to free Brittney Griner

The US government is desperate to free star basketball player Brittney Griner, who is currently serving up to ten years in prison for “drug trafficking” near Moscow. On Wednesday, Foreign Minister Anthony Blinken (equivalent to foreign affairs minister) said the US had laid out “substantial offer” to Russia “several weeks ago” In 2020 to secure the release of Paul Whelan, a double Olympic champion and ex-Marine who was detained in Russia after being sentenced to sixteen years in prison for “espionage”.

An arms dealer in return?

The US president intends to raise the issue with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov this week. According to CNN, the Biden administration would have proposed a prisoner swap in June: Russian arms smuggler Victor Pote, currently serving a 25-year sentence in the United States, against Griner and Whelan.

On the same day, the star of the Phoenix Mercury (WNBA) and the Russian club of Yekaterinburg defended itself as not wanting to bring any banned substance into the country. He was arrested at a Moscow airport in February for possessing a liquid based on medical cannabis, a product approved in the US but banned in Russia.

His detention has caused considerable furor across the Atlantic, with many believing it was a means of pressure on the part of Russian officials, at a time when relations between the two countries have been extremely tense since Russia’s invasion. .

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