Biden Says He’ll Meet With Putin Only to Discuss Brittney Griner
Author: Trudy Ring
President Joe Biden says he’ll meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin at next month’s G-20 Summit only if Putin’s willing to discuss the release of out American WNBA star Brittney Griner.
“Look, I have no intention of meeting with him, but look, if he came to me at the G-20 and said, ‘I want to talk about the release of Griner,’ I would meet with him, but that would depend,” Biden told Jake Tapper on CNN Tuesday.
Griner’s attorney told the New York Times that Griner is not optimistic at the moment.
“She is not yet absolutely convinced that America will be able to take her home,” Alexandr Boykov said. He told the Times that he had spoken to Griner on Tuesday. “She is very worried about what the price of that will be, and she is afraid that she will have to serve the whole sentence here in Russia.”
Griner has been sentenced to nine years in a Russian prison after being convicted of possessing a controlled substance. The Phoenix Mercury center arrived in Russia in February to play for a team in that nation during the WNBA off-season and was arrested because she had vape cartridges containing cannabis oil in her luggage.
She said she uses the substance to ease her chronic pain but had never used it in Russia and had brought it into the country by mistake. Her legal team has appealed her sentence, and the U.S. government has asserted she was wrongfully detained in Russia. Some observers have asserted Russia is using her as a pawn related to its war on Ukraine.
Biden has been in touch with Griner’s wife, Cherelle Griner, and other members of the athlete’s family. The U.S. has offered Russia a prisoner swap in an effort to secure Brittney Griner’s release, but so far nothing has come of it. She and Paul Whelan, an American convicted of espionage charges in Russia — charges he says are bogus — would be exchanged for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.
“The Russians need to take the serious offer that we put forward on the table or make a serious counteroffer to negotiate but in good faith,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said last week.
The G-20, or Group of 20, consists of representatives of 20 major nations around the world. The summit, where they will discuss economic and other issues, will be held November 15 and 16 in Indonesia.
Original Article on The Advocate
Author: Trudy Ring