Russian Officials In Talks Over Possible Release of Brittney Griner

Jaelani Turner-Williams Jaelani Turner-Williams is a contributing news writer for Okayplayer with…
Photo Credit: Alexander Zemlianichenko /POOL/AFP

On Thursday, Russian officials admitted that discussions about the possible release of WNBA player Brittney Griner have taken place.

WNBA player Brittney Griner may be brought months home after being arrested in Russia on February 17. Per USA Today, on Wednesday (July 27), U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken that the U.S. put a “substantial proposal on the table weeks ago” for a prison swap of Griner and another jailed American, Paul Whelan.

When asked about the announcement, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov suggested that “no agreements have been finalized.”

“We know that such issues are discussed without any such release of information,” Peskov explained to reporters during a conference call. “Normally, the public learns about it when the agreements are already implemented.”

In a separate statement, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova confirmed that discussions were conducted between the U.S. and Russian officials about possible prisoner exchanges, but that “there has been no concrete result yet.”

“We proceed from the assumption that interests of both parties should be taken into account during the negotiations,” Zakharova said.

The discussions come five months after Griner was arrested at a Moscow airport when Russian law enforcement discovered that the Phoenix Mercury player had vape cartridges containing cannabis oil in her luggage. In July, Griner wrote an open letter to President Joe Biden about as a plea for support.

The 31-year-old plead guilty to drug smuggling charges, but said that she had no criminal intent while playing for the Russian basketball league during the offseason. If convicted of transporting drugs, she faces 10 years in prison.

Griner is also on the July cover of TIME, where in the article, her wife Cherelle Griner wrote about the WNBA player’s detainment.

“The toughest moment during this ordeal is when I stop to think about how BG is doing,” Cherelle wrote to TIME in an email. “Those moments are overwhelming, and I’m consumed with emotions.”

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