(Update) Russian officials confirm discussions to swap Brittney Griner are underway

Eight days after being sentenced to 9.5 years in prison in Russia, the country confirmed the first discussions to swap Brittney Griner and another American prisoner, Paul Whelan, are underway.

The Washington Post reported that Russian officials confirmed the announcement on Thursday.

Brittney Griner Russia Trial Begins Friday — Faces 10 Years If Convicted
(Photo by Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP) (Photo by KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP via Getty Images)

Discussions are taking place via a channel President Biden and Putin agreed back in June of last year.

Ivan Nechayev, spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, stated:

Instructions have been given to the structures authorized to do so Nechayev said. “They are being conducted by the competent authorities.”

Russia announced it was ready to hold prisoner swap talks last week but reiterated that it would refuse a prisoner swap if the US continued to discuss the details.

Biden told White House reporters he was “hopeful” and “we’re working hard” to bring Brittney Griner home.

Why did Russian officials arrest Paul Whelan?

Authorities arrested Whelan in 2018 and sentenced him in 2020 for espionage. Whelan alleges someone framed him, and the US says he was “wrongfully detained”.

Brittney Griner’s Beliefs

On Thursday, a Russian court found Brittney Griner guilty of conspiracy to smuggle and possess drugs.

Based on CNN, guilty verdict says Brittney intend to commit a crime when she tried to enter the country with less than 1 gram of cannabis oil in her luggage.

Before sentencing, Russian prosecutors ask the court to consider giving WNBA stars 9.5 years when they’re finished. Shortly after news of the ruling broke, Brittney’s lawyers confirmed the Russian court complied with the prosecutor’s request. As a result, Griner received nine years in a penal colony, each The New York Times. In addition, the judge fined Brittney about $16,300 – one million rubles.

Roomies, what do you think of this?

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