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Putin wants to be directly involved with Biden on Griner prisoner swap

WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner is escorted from a court docket room soon after her previous phrases, in Khimki just outside Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022. Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP

Putin wants to be instantly involved with Biden on Griner prisoner swap

Cami Mondeaux

August 05, 08:14 AM August 05, 08:14 AM

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Russia has indicated it is completely ready to open personal discussions amongst President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin about a prisoner swap to cost-free Brittney Griner, just just one day soon after the WNBA participant was sentenced to 9 many years in jail.

Russia’s international ministry indicated it would be willing to focus on a prisoner trade via presently agreed-on channels, warning the United States not to vacation resort to “megaphone diplomacy.” The Kremlin has beforehand been silent on the prospects of a prisoner swap to totally free Griner, protecting that if exchanges have been described in the media, the country would halt negotiations.

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“There is a specified channel that has been agreed upon by [Putin and Biden], and no issue what everyone states publicly, this channel will continue to be in result,” Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, informed reporters at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit on Friday. “The Americans have already designed that oversight, all of a sudden determining to use megaphone diplomacy to resolve these problems. This is not how they are solved.”

Griner was found responsible on Thursday of smuggling prescription drugs into Russia and was sentenced to nine many years in a penal colony. The basketball star was in the beginning detained in February, but Russian officers stated a verdict had to be built in her circumstance prior to speaking about a prisoner trade.

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Griner experienced pleaded responsible to the expenses, hoping her statements of remorse would sway the choose to give her a far more lenient sentence. She testified she utilizes hashish oil in the U.S. for chronic discomfort but knew that carrying hashish to Russia was illegal.

U.S. officials responded to Griner’s 9-12 months sentence soon following it was handed down on Thursday, with Biden calling it “unacceptable.”

Griner’s situation has taken on intercontinental importance, and her destiny is tied to icy U.S.-Russian diplomatic relations as very well as the launch of other Us residents detained in the region. The prisoner trade would also involve talks to no cost Paul Whelan, a previous Maritime who has been held in Russian detention due to the fact 2018 and was convicted in 2020 on espionage costs.

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