In exchange for Griner and Whelan’s freedom, Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout would also be set free
Brittney Griner has been detained in a Russian prison since her arrest in February of this year, while simultaneously existing in limbo as negotiations have taken place to free her. As Griner’s high-profile trial has played out in public view, the negotiations to end her Russian captivity have progressed behind the scenes. According to CNN, the Biden Administration has approved an offer to swap convicted arms smuggler Viktor Bout for Brittney Griner and former US Marine Paul Whelan. Secretary of State Tony Blinken announced Wednesday that Biden was directly involved, but refused to discuss specific details of the proposed offer.
Breaking reports that the Biden Administration has offered a prisoner exchange for Griner and Whelan is just the latest morsel of information to slip out of the tight cocoon that’s surrounded her ongoing Russia detention. While the WNBA and various advocates have kept up the pressure domestically, the U.S. reclassified Griner as “wrongfully detained” in May and sent former U.S. Senator Bill Richardson to Russia earlier this month as part of a contingent to hash out a deal with Russia. Read more »