Russia says it is able to talk about prisoner swap with U.S

(Reuters) -Russia stated on Friday it was prepared to debate prisoner swaps with america via an present diplomatic channel, a day a Russian courtroom sentenced basketball star Brittney Griner to 9 years in jail for a medication offence.

Overseas Minister Sergei Lavrov stated President Vladimir Putin and his U.S. counterpart Joe Biden had beforehand agreed on a diplomatic channel that needs to be used to debate such issues.

“We’re prepared to debate this matter, however inside the framework of the channel that was agreed upon by presidents Putin and Biden,” Lavrov stated throughout a go to to Cambodia.

“If the People determine to as soon as once more resort to public diplomacy…, that’s their enterprise and I might even say that it’s their downside.”

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

Griner’s sentence – which Biden known as “unacceptable” – might pave the way in which for a prisoner swap that would come with the 31-year-old athlete and a prolific Russian arms supplier serving a 25-year jail time period in america.

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

‘A SERIOUS PROPOSAL’

White Home nationwide safety spokesperson John Kirby stated after Griner’s sentencing that america had made Russia a critical proposal.

“We urge them to simply accept it,” he stated. “They need to have accepted it weeks in the past after we first made it.”

Kirby didn’t present additional element on the U.S. proposal.

Washington has supplied to change Russian arms trafficker Bout for Griner and Whelan, sources accustomed to the state of affairs have informed Reuters.

Russia had tried so as to add convicted assassin Vadim Krasikov, imprisoned in Germany, to the proposed swap, a supply accustomed to the proceedings additionally informed Reuters.

Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medallist and Ladies’s Nationwide Basketball Affiliation (WNBA) star, was arrested on Feb. 17 at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo with vape cartridges containing cannabis oil in her baggage.

The USA argued she was wrongly detained and getting used as a political bargaining chip by Moscow. Russian officers dismissed the U.S. claims, saying Griner had damaged Russian regulation and needs to be judged accordingly.

Griner, who had been prescribed medical hashish in america to alleviate ache from persistent accidents, stated she had made an trustworthy mistake by inadvertently packing her vape cartridges as she rushed to make her flight.

She pled responsible to the modifications in opposition to her however insisted that she didn’t intend to interrupt Russian regulation.

Hashish is unlawful in Russia for each medicinal and leisure functions.

(Reporting by Reuters; enhancing by Man Faulconbridge and Mark Heinrich)

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