The United States will “continue” discussions with Russia over a prisoner swap that includes basketball star Brittney Griner, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Friday.
“(Russia’s) Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said this morning … that they are ready to participate” in a prisoner exchange “and we will continue with that,” Blinken told a meeting of foreign ministers in Cambodia. .
Griner’s arrest and sentence highlighted Moscow’s “use of unlawful detention to further its own agenda,” Blinken added, criticizing the use of “individuals as political pawns.”
At a press conference in Cambodia, Lavrov said earlier this Friday that Russia is willing to “discuss this issue, but only within the framework of the channel (of communication) that was agreed upon by Presidents (Vladimir) Putin and (Joe) Biden. “.
“There is a special channel agreed by the presidents and, despite some public statements, it continues to work,” Lavrov added.
A Russian court on Thursday sentenced the American basketball player to nine years in prison for drug trafficking.
Arrested in February in Moscow, shortly before the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, with a vaporizer containing cannabis-based liquid, the double Olympic champion became one more element in the geopolitical crisis between Russia and the United States.