The Biden Administration has offered to exchange Russian arms trafficker Viktor Bout for the release of WNBA star Brittney Griner and another American Paul Whelan. Griner’s trial has been going on since July 1st and if convicted she could face up to ten years in a Russian prison. While the Biden Administration has repeatedly said they were working on her release this is the first report of a potential deal that could secure the WNBA star’s freedom from Russia. She was arrested at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport in February for having vape canisters containing cannabis oil.
Big news — US offers to exchange Viktor Bout, a convicted Russian arms trafficker, as part of a potential deal to secure the release of two Americans held by Russia, Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan, per @kylieatwood @evanperez @jmhansler https://t.co/STnz2HlG0X
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) July 27, 2022
A U.S. official had the following to say about the Brittney Griner negotiations. “It takes two to tango. We start all negotiations to bring home Americans held hostage or wrongfully detained with a bad actor on the other side. We start all of these with somebody who has taken a human being American and treated them as a bargaining chip. So in some ways, it’s not surprising, even if it’s disheartening, when those same actors don’t necessarily respond directly to our offers, don’t engage constructively in negotiations.”
WASHINGTON (AP) — Blinken says US has made substantial offer to Russia for release of American detainees Paul Whelan and Brittney Griner.
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) July 27, 2022
There is no word on how or if the Russian Government will respond to this offer. Brittney Griner has been jailed in Russia since February and for now, can be detained there until December according to Russian courts. We here at Def Pen Sports will continue to update the story on Griner as more becomes available. The hope for Griner, Whelan, and their families is that they can soon return home and reunite with their loved ones. There is no word on how long her trial could last in the Russian Court System.