Russia "ready to focus on" prisoner swap now that Brittney Griner sentenced - CBS information

Russia talked about Friday it become "able to discuss" a prisoner swap with Washington at the presidential level, a day after the drug conviction of U.S. basketball celebrity Brittney Griner.

regardless of tensions soaring between Russia and the U.S. because the launch of Moscow's military intervention in Ukraine, the former cold conflict opponents gave the impression to be edging closer to a brand new prisoner change.

The White condominium has urged Russia to accept its offer of a deal for the free up of Griner and former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan, who was sentenced to 16 years in penal complex on espionage fees.

Russia's international Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday talked about Moscow become willing to talk about the matter.

"we are able to discuss this discipline, however simplest inside the framework of the (conversation) channel dependent by means of presidents Putin and Biden," Lavrov told a press conference on a seek advice from to Cambodia.

Viktor Bout, Russian arms dealer, at center of feasible prisoner swap 02:23

"there is a unique channel dependent by way of the presidents and despite certain public declarations, it remains practical," he added.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who spoke to Lavrov about the exchange last Friday, pointed out Washington might be "pursuing" discussions with Russia.

He additionally pointed out Griner's conviction put a highlight on the "Russian govt's use of wrongful detentions to strengthen its personal agenda the use of individuals as political pawns."

WNBA participant Griner was sentenced to nine years in a Russian penal colony Thursday and ordered to pay a great of 1000000 rubles ($sixteen,590) for possessing and smuggling narcotics.

the two-time Olympic basketball gold medalist and girls's NBA champion was detained at a Moscow airport in February after she became found carrying vape cartridges with hashish oil in her baggage.

The Phoenix Mercury player became coming to Russia to play membership basketball with UMMC Ekaterinburg all through the U.S. low season — a typical route for American stars in the hunt for further income.

Griner pleaded guilty to the fees, however said she did not intend to ruin the legislation or use the banned substance in Russia.

"I want the court docket to bear in mind it was an honest mistake that I made whereas rushing, beneath stress, attempting to get well from publish-Covid and simply attempting to get returned to my crew," Griner talked about in her ultimate statement earlier than the decision.

Griner had testified that she had permission from a U.S. doctor to make use of medicinal cannabis to relieve pain from her many accidents, and had not ever failed a drug check.

using medical marijuana is not allowed in Russia.

Griner's legal team observed they plan to attraction the "unreasonable" verdict.

President Biden referred to as Griner's conviction "unacceptable" and noted Washington would "work tirelessly" to at ease her liberate.

Blinken has noted Washington put ahead a "titanic notion" for the alternate of Griner and Whelan.

The highest-profile Russian prisoner within the u.s. is Victor Bout, a fifty five-yr-historical arms trafficker dubbed the "merchant of dying," who's serving a 25-year sentence.

There is not any respectable affirmation that Washington has offered to alternate him.

Bout's wife, Alla, on Friday expressed her sympathies to Griner's household, announcing she hoped her husband and the us athlete might be able to return domestic.

"Sympathy has no citizenship and nationality, it's a standard human emotion," she told Russian news agency RIA Novosti, expressing hope that Russia and the U.S. would "come to an agreement."

Moscow and Washington have already conducted one prisoner swap considering the fact that the beginning of Moscow's Ukraine offensive.

In April, Washington exchanged former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed for convicted drug smuggler Konstantin Yaroshenko.

In a handwritten letter from Griner that become dropped at the White house ultimate month, the WNBA player wrote how terrified she is that she may be imprisoned in Russia "continuously." 

Griner's spouse Cherelle instructed "CBS Mornings" that once she study the letter, she could feel the worry that Griner was experiencing. 

"She is likely the strongest grownup that i do know, so she does not say words like that calmly. That capability she definitely is terrified that she can also under no circumstances see us again. You understand, I share those equal sentiments," Cherelle Griner observed. 

Cherelle Griner says President Biden wrote letter again to Brittney Griner 03:15

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