Russia ‘ready’ to discuss prisoner swap – Lavrov

Russia is “ready” to discuss a prisoner swap with Washington on the presidential degree, its overseas minister stated, a day after the drug conviction of US basketball participant Brittney Griner.

“We are ready to discuss this subject, but only within the framework of the (communication) channel established by presidents [Vladimir] Putin and [Joe] Biden,” Sergei Lavrov advised a press convention on a go to to Cambodia.

“If the Americans decide to once again resort to public diplomacy… that is their business and I would even say that it is their problem,” Mr Lavrov stated.

The Kremlin had beforehand warned the United States in opposition to resorting to “megaphone diplomacy” within the case of Griner, saying it may solely derail efforts to safe a possible swap.

The Unites States has already made what Secretary of State Antony Blinken known as a “substantial offer” to safe the discharge of Americans detained in Russia, together with Griner and former Marine Paul Whelan.

A Russian court docket sentenced Griner to 9 years in jail on drug costs yesterday.

Griner, who had been prescribed medical hashish within the United States to relieve ache from continual accidents, stated she had made an sincere mistake by inadvertently packing them as she rushed to make her flight.

She pled responsible to the adjustments in opposition to her however insisted that she didn’t intend to break Russian legislation.

Cannabis is illegitimate in Russia for each medicinal and leisure functions.

Her sentencing may now pave the way in which for a US-Russia prisoner swap that would come with the 31-yr-previous athlete and a prolific Russian arms supplier.

“I love my family,” Griner advised journalists after the ruling she was led away by members of Russia’s legislation enforcement.

Her defence workforce advised reporters the athlete – often called BG to her mates and followers – was “very upset” and “very stressed”.

President Biden instantly launched an announcement, calling the Russian court docket’s sentencing of Griner “unacceptable”.

“Russia is wrongfully detaining Brittney,” Mr Biden stated within the assertion.

“It’s unacceptable and I call on Russia to release her immediately so she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends and teammates.”

The US president reiterated that he would “work tirelessly and pursue every possible avenue” to repatriate Griner.

White House nationwide safety spokesperson John Kirby stated after Griner’s sentencing that the United States had made Russia a severe proposal.

“We urge them to accept it,” he stated. “They should have accepted it weeks ago when we first made it.”

Mr Kirby didn’t present additional element on the US proposal.

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