Accessibility links

Breaking News

Biden Hopeful Russia Will Negotiate Griner Release


FILE - WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner is seen on the bottom part of a TV screen as she waits to appear in a video link provided by the Russian Federal Penitentiary Service at the Moscow Regional Court in Moscow, Russia, Oct. 25, 2022.

U.S. President Joe Biden said he hopes Russian President Vladimir Putin will be more willing to negotiate the release of WNBA star Brittney Griner now that the U.S. midterm elections are over, he said in a news conference Wednesday.

“My hope is that now that the election is over, that Mr. Putin will be able to discuss with us and be willing to talk more seriously about a prisoner exchange,” Biden said.

Biden added that he is “determined to get her home” as well as others.

According to Griner's legal team, the American basketball star has been sent to a penal colony in Russia to serve her sentence for drug possession.

A Russian court rejected an appeal of her nine-year sentence last month. The eight-time all-star center with the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury and a two-time Olympic gold medalist was convicted Aug. 4 after police said they found vape canisters containing cannabis oil in her luggage at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport.

Her arrest came at a time of heightened tensions between Moscow and Washington, just days before Russia sent troops into Ukraine, and the politically charged case could lead to a high-stakes prisoner exchange between Washington and Moscow.

“Every minute that Brittney Griner must endure wrongful detention in Russia is a minute too long,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.

“As we have said before, the U.S. Government made a significant offer to the Russians to resolve the current unacceptable and wrongful detentions of American citizens,” she said.

Griner's legal team said she left a detention center outside Moscow on Nov. 4 for a penal colony — as prisons in Russia are commonly known. The move was expected since she lost her appeal.

Such transfers can take days or even weeks, during which time lawyers and loved ones usually don't have contact with the prisoner. Even after she arrives, access to Griner may be difficult since many penal colonies are in remote parts of Russia.

Her lawyers said Wednesday that they did not know exactly where she was or where she would end up — but that they expected to be notified when she reached her final destination.

XS
SM
MD
LG