US will ‘pursue’ Russian offer to discuss Griner prisoner swap | News

The announcement comes a day after a Russian courtroom sentenced basketball star Brittney Griner to 9 years in jail.

The USA will “pursue” Russia’s newest supply to debate on the presidential stage a prisoner swap involving imprisoned basketball star Brittney Griner, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has mentioned.

A day after a Russian courtroom sentenced Griner to 9 years in jail for a medicine offence, Russian International Minister Sergey Lavrov mentioned on Friday Moscow was prepared to debate prisoner swaps with the US by way of an current diplomatic channel.

“They’re ready to have interaction” on a swap for Griner, Blinken mentioned at a overseas ministers’ assembly in Cambodia on Friday.

“And we’ll be pursuing that,” he added.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart, Joe Biden, had beforehand agreed on a diplomatic channel that must be used to debate such issues, Lavrov mentioned earlier.

“We’re prepared to debate this matter, however inside the framework of the channel that was agreed upon by presidents Putin and Biden,” Lavrov mentioned, additionally from Cambodia.

The Kremlin had beforehand warned Washington in opposition to “megaphone diplomacy” within the case of Griner, saying it may solely derail efforts to safe a possible swap, some extent reiterated by Lavrov.

“If the People determine to as soon as once more resort to public diplomacy …, that’s their enterprise and I’d even say that it’s their drawback,” he mentioned.

‘We urge them to just accept’

Griner’s sentence on Thursday – which Biden referred to as “unacceptable” – may now pave the best way for a prisoner swap involving the 31-year-old athlete in addition to former US marine Paul Whelan, who’s detained in Russia, and Viktor Bout, a infamous Russian arms vendor serving a 25-year jail time period within the US, sources accustomed to the state of affairs have informed Reuters information company.

White Home nationwide safety spokesperson John Kirby mentioned after Griner’s sentencing that the US had made Russia a critical supply.

“We urge them to just accept it,” he mentioned. “They need to have accepted it weeks in the past after we first made it.”

Kirby didn’t present additional element on the US proposal.

Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medallist and Girls’s Nationwide Basketball Affiliation star, was arrested on February 17 at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Worldwide Airport when vape cartridges containing cannabis oil had been found in her baggage.

Washington argued that she was wrongly detained and is getting used as a political bargaining chip by Moscow. Russian officers dismissed the US claims, saying Griner had damaged Russian regulation and must be judged accordingly.

Griner, who had been prescribed medical hashish within the US to alleviate ache from persistent accidents, mentioned she had made an sincere mistake by inadvertently packing her vape cartridges as she rushed to make her flight.

She pleaded responsible to the fees in opposition to her however insisted that she didn’t intend to interrupt Russian regulation.

Hashish is against the law in Russia for each medicinal and leisure functions.

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