Russia says ‘ready’ to discuss prisoner exchange with US

US Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) basketball player Brittney Griner, who was detained at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport and later charged with illegal possession of cannabis, waits for the verdict inside a defendants' cage during a hearing in Khimki outside Moscow, on August 4, 2022. A Russian court found Griner guilty of smuggling and storing narcotics after prosecutors requested a sentence of nine and a half years in jail for the athlete. (AFP)

US’ Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) basketball player Brittney Griner, who was detained at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport and later charged with illegal possession of cannabis, waits for the verdict inside a defendants’ cage during a hearing in Khimki outside Moscow, on August 4, 2022. – A Russian court found Griner guilty of smuggling and storing narcotics after prosecutors requested a sentence of nine and a half years in jail for the athlete. (Photo by EVGENIA NOVOZHENINA / POOL / AFP)

August 5, 2022

Russia is “ready” to discuss a prisoner swap with Washington at the presidential level, its foreign minister said on Friday, a day after the drug conviction of US basketball star Brittney Griner.

“We are ready to discuss this subject, but only within the framework of the (communication) channel established by presidents Putin and Biden,” Sergei Lavrov told a press conference on a visit to Cambodia.

“There is a special channel established by the presidents and despite certain public declarations, it is still functional,” he said.

“If the Americans again decide to engage in public diplomacy and make thundering declarations… that’s their business and their problem,” he said, adding that Washington “can’t” work “in a professional and calm manner.”

Lavrov spoke a day after a Russian court sentenced Griner to nine years in a penal colony on a drug smuggling charge.


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