US asks Moscow to accept offer for convicted basketball star Griner

The United States demanded Moscow accept their offer for the release of basketball star Brittney Griner, who was sentenced to 9 years in prison in Russia.

The two-time Olympic champion was convicted of drug possession and smuggling after admitting he had cannabis oil used in electronic cigarettes in his suitcase at Moscow airport.

White House National Security spokesman John Kirby emphasized that the proposal, which he did not provide details about, was a serious proposal.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also stated that they are ready to discuss the issue.

There were reports in the American media that Washington offered the release of Griner and ex-US marine Paul Whelan in exchange for Viktor Bout, who was serving a 25-year prison sentence in the USA on charges of arms smuggling.

Whelan, who holds US, British, Canadian and Irish citizenship, was sentenced to 16 years in prison in 2020 on charges of espionage.

But Russia wants to include Vadim Krasikov, who was convicted of murder in Germany, in the deal, according to Reuters.

Brittney Griner, who was detained in February with drugs on her body, was sentenced to 9 years in prison by the Himki Court in the Moscow region yesterday. The court also fined the American basketball player 1 million rubles. It was alleged that Russia and the United States were in talks to exchange detainees, including Griner.

In a statement on July 27, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that they had prepared an important proposal to Moscow for the extradition of US Paul Whelan, who was imprisoned in Russia, as well as Griner.

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