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Russia is ready to talk about prisoner swap after Griner’s prison sentence

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Thursday the US had made a “serious proposal” for a prisoner swap and urged Russia to “accept it.”

“They should have accepted it weeks ago when we first did it,” he said. When asked if Washington was a counteroffer from Russia, Kirby said, “I don’t think we’re going to even call it a counteroffer.”

Griner, 31, was sentenced to nine years in prison in Russia on Thursday after being found guilty of drug possession and smuggling. She also faces a fine of 1 million rubles ($16,590) but can appeal the verdict.

The basketball star was arrested at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport in February after Russian authorities said they found vape canisters containing cannabis oil in her luggage.

Griner, a center for WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury who has played winters in Russia for the past seven years, admitted the canisters were hers. However, she said she unintentionally brought them to Russia after packing her luggage in a hurry.

In a final plea for clemency on Thursday, Dec two-time Olympic champion apologized and reiterated that she never wanted to break Russian laws and made “an honest mistake”.

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Griner’s legal team said the basketball star was “very disappointed” with Thursday’s result.

“The court completely ignored all of the defense evidence and most importantly the guilty plea,” her lawyers said in a separate statement sent via messaging app Telegram. They said they would appeal.

Griner’s WNBA team, the phoenix Mercurysaid it was hopeful the Biden administration could secure their freedom.

“While we knew it was never the court case that would bring our friend home, today’s verdict is a sobering milestone in the 168-day nightmare our sister BG endured,” the WNBA franchise said in a statement .

“We remain heartbroken for her, as we have been every day for almost six months. We remain grateful to the officers and trust that they work every day to bring her back to her family and to us,” it said.

The Kremlin has been accused of using Griner as a political pawn, while the Biden administration has come under increasing pressure from her family and teammates to secure her release.

Julia Talmazan and Julia fool contributed.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/russia-ready-discuss-prisoner-swap-us-griner-sentence-rcna41683 Russia is ready to talk about prisoner swap after Griner’s prison sentence

Fry Electronics Team

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