Brittney Griner could return to the US in time for the holiday season thanks to a prisoner swap that the US and Russia may have agreed upon after months of discussions and back-and-forth.
When asked if a swap might occur before the end of the year on Tuesday, Sergei Ryabkov, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, responded, “There is always a chance.”.
Unfortunately, there have been a few instances when it seemed like a decision in its favour was about to be made, but it has yet to, according to Ryabkov.
President Biden has worked tirelessly to secure the release of Griner and former Marine Paul Whelan since they were detained in Russia several months ago.
Even though there are no current discussions about a prisoner swap between the US and the Russian Foreign Ministry, Ryabkov said that it “would without a doubt send a positive signal that not everything is so dark in Russian-American relations. “.
If we could figure it out, such a signal would be appropriate.
After her appeal against the long-term was denied by a Russian court earlier this month, Griner started serving her nine-year sentence for drug possession at a brutal labour camp in Mordovia.
US officials have criticised the harsh sentence as being politically motivated and excessive. International attention was drawn to Griner’s case due to her participation in the 2012 Olympic Games.
The 32-year-old professional basketball player was arrested in February at a Moscow airport after it was found that her luggage contained vape cartridges containing cannabis oil, which is illegal in Russia.
When put on trial, Griner asserted that she had accidentally brought the cartridges with her for a trip to Russia, where she agreed to play basketball outside the WNBA’s regular season.
Griner had a deal to play basketball in Russia during the off-season of the WNBA. She was found guilty of possessing and smuggling cannabis in August and given a nine-year prison term as punishment.
Before the November elections, Vice President Joe Biden expressed hope that Russian President Vladimir Putin might be willing to talk about Griner’s release.