President Joe Biden said Friday that he’s hopeful about WNBA star Brittney Griner’s case, following indications that Russia is ready to discuss a prisoner exchange with the United States.
“I’m hopeful. We’re working hard,” Biden told reporters outside the White House after a bill signing.
Griner this week was convicted of deliberately smuggling drugs into Russia and sentenced to nine years of jail time. At trial, Griner testified she has a doctor's prescription for medical cannabis and had no intention of bringing the drug into Russia.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said earlier on Friday that Russia was ready to discuss an exchange of prisoners with the US through a diplomatic channel agreed by Putin and Biden, according to Russian state news agency RIA Novosti.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Friday that the United States will pursue Russia’s latest offer to discuss a prisoner exchange at the presidential level involving Griner.