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BREAKING: Russia Confirms Initiation of Huge Step in Big Update for Brittney Griner and Fellow American Prisoner

Published 08/11/2022, 11:10 AM EDT

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Brittney Griner will finally be hearing some good news after months of being detained overseas. Russia, for the first time, confirmed that they and the United States are engaged in negotiations for a prisoner swap to secure the WNBA player’s release.

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The US proposed a deal, a few weeks ago, to free Griner and fellow American prisoner, Paul Whelan. The Russian Foreign Ministry stated that the two nations are in negotiations through a channel established by their respective presidents.


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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s announced last week that Russia was “ready to discuss” a swap.

Last month, US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, indicated that a “substantial” offer had been made. According to reports, the US proposed releasing Russian arms trafficker Viktor Bout, who is serving a 25-year sentence. Blinken however, did not confirm this. Following Lavrov’s comments, Blinken stated that they were ready to engage in discussions through a diplomatic route.

Russian authorities have warned the US against engaging in “megaphone diplomacy.” To put it another way, they warned them against utilizing public pressure to secure Griner’s release. The Kremlin also cautioned them that doing so would jeopardize the entire process.

Brittney Griner was sentenced to 9 years in prison last week

Brittney Griner was sentenced to 9 years behind bars on 4th August. The former WNBA champion pleaded guilty to the Russian drug charges after months of being detained. She requested leniency from the court but was nevertheless imprisoned for 9 years. That is nearly the maximum prison sentence for Russian drug accusations, which is 10 years.

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Things went south for her when she was detained at an airport in Moscow. Two vape cartridges with cannabis oil containing less than a gram of the substance were seized from her baggage. The substance is banned in Russia.


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The Biden administration has been under tremendous pressure to secure her release since then. According to the State Department, both Griner and Paul Whelan have been unlawfully detained.


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In 2020, Whelan was sentenced to 16 years in jail for espionage-related offenses. Reportedly, President Joe Biden has been in constant communication with the families of both American citizens and has committed to bringing them back to their homeland as soon as possible.

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Written by:

Ritvik Malhotra


One take at a time

Ritvik is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Having completed his Bachelor's in Journalism and Mass Communication from Amity University, Ritvik has finally got his foot in the door as a professional sports writer. He previously interned at another media house where he authored over 150 soccer articles, but he is now writing about his primary obsession, basketball.
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Edited by:

Pritam Priyedarshi