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Friday, July 12, 2024

Russian Foreign Minister Considers Prisoner Swap Negotiation for Brittney Griner

  • Lavrov reportedly said he would plan a call with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
  • The news follows Blinken’s comments Wednesday saying he had attempted a prisoner swap.
Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

U.S. officials may finally have made some progress with bringing WNBA star Brittney Griner home, after she was detained in Russia on alleged drug charges in February.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov reportedly said he would consider speaking with Antony Blinken, U.S. Secretary of State, in order to arrange a prisoner swap for Griner. Lavrov said he could plan a call when he goes back to Moscow.

The news follows Blinken’s comments on Wednesday saying he had attempted a deal to bring both Griner and Paul Whelan back to the U.S.

The moves are some of the first public signs that Griner may actually come back to the U.S. safely. 

  • Her detention happened just days before Russia invaded Ukraine, when diplomatic ties between the U.S. and Putin’s regime were all but severed.
  • Griner’s trial began a few weeks ago. She pled guilty to carrying marijuana products in her luggage — though that’s reportedly all part of a scheme to bring her home through diplomatic channels.
  • Griner’s lawyers tried to argue in court that she had brought the marijuana to Russia mistakenly, as she had a medical prescription for it in the U.S.

Griner plays for a Russian team during the WNBA offseason in order to make a much higher salary than she can in the U.S. 

UMMC Ekaterinburg, the team she plays for, reportedly pays players $1 million a year — more than three times the amount she makes on the Phoenix Mercury.

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