On Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov made the announcement in Cambodia that the Kremlin is “willing to consider” the possibility of exchanging WNBA star Brittney Griner for another prisoner.
According to CNN, Lavrov said the Russian government is “willing to discuss the matter,” but only “within the scope of the channel that has been decided upon by the presidents.”
Existing Channels of Communication
Lavrov stated, during the summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, there is a certain channel that has been agreed upon by the presidents of Russia and the United States.
This channel will stay in place, regardless of what anyone says publicly about it.
I spoke with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov today to press for the release of U.S. citizens Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan, who are wrongfully detained. I also urged Russia to honor its commitments regarding the export of Ukrainian grain. pic.twitter.com/6zrRd1rNGT
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) July 29, 2022
According to CNN, Secretary of State Antony Blinken followed up on Lavrov’s comment by adding the United States will continue to pursue conversations with Russia at the same meeting.
He made that statement while they were putting out a major proposition that Russia ought to engage in conversation with them about.
Russia’s Foreign Minister Lavrov said openly his country is ready to engage through the channels the United States has established specifically for this purpose. Now, the United States of America is going to pursue that.
After being detained for transporting an illegal narcotic through Russia’s airport security, Griner was handed a sentence on Thursday. This sentence called for her to serve nine years in a Russian prison.
After learning that the American citizen Brittney Griner was given a prison sentence, President Biden said the following: “Russia is wrongfully detaining Brittney.”
According to CNN, Blinken said the court’s decision puts an exclamation on Washington’s very great concern with Russia’s judicial process.
He also said the Russian government’s use of unlawful detentions is to promote its own ideology by using people as political pawns.
Washington is worried because, in the past, the Russian government used people as political tools to get things done and as trading tools to get what it wanted.
He continued by saying, “The same is true for Paul Whelan.”
With today’s sentencing, Russia continues its wrongful detention of Brittney Griner. She should be released immediately. @POTUS and I, and our entire Administration, are working every day to reunite Brittney, as well as Paul Whelan, with loved ones who miss each of them dearly.
— Vice President Kamala Harris (@VP) August 4, 2022
Whelan, a former member of the United States Marine Corps, has been held captive in Russia since 2018. His situation garnered more attention since Griner was also detained in the same country.
David Whelan, who is Paul Whelan’s brother, stated it would be very challenging if his brother is not included in a deal that frees Griner.
David Whelan also claimed on Tuesday that if his brother, Paul, is left behind once more, it will be very hurtful.
Still, they are aware the case of Ms. Griner is a different case. It involves a different person and it involves a different family. Meanwhile, the United States government has to handle each of these cases one at a time.