Biden Administration Offers Convicted Russian Arms Dealer In Exchange For Brittney Griner & Another American Being Detained By Foreign Country
New details have surfaced in the ongoing Russian detainment of WNBA star Brittney Griner.
According to reports, the Biden administration has offered to exchange Viktor Bout, a convicted Russian arms trafficker serving a 25-year US prison sentence, as part of a potential deal to secure the release of Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan.
Brittney Griner has been wrongfully detained by Russia since February for alleged drug possession. Paul Whelan has been held by Russia for alleged espionage since 2018.
Reportedly, this potential trade has been under discussion for months and President Joe Biden has finally given his backing to the plan. However, the Department of Justice is against prisoner trades and does not support the swap. A senior administration official spoke on the trade-off and said,
“We communicated a substantial offer that we believe could be successful based on a history of conversations with the Russians. We communicated that a number of weeks ago, in June.”
They continued and said that even though “it takes two to tango” that “ does not leave us passive, as we continue to communicate the offer at very senior levels.”
“We start all negotiations to bring home Americans held hostage or wrongfully detained with a bad actor on the other side. We start all of these with somebody who has taken a human being American and treated them as a bargaining chip. So in some ways, it’s not surprising, even if it’s disheartening, when those same actors don’t necessarily respond directly to our offers, don’t engage constructively in negotiations.”
Today (July 27) reports surfaced that Brittney Griner testified during her Russian trial that her rights weren’t explained during her initial arrest. She also claimed she was forced to sign documents without a translator.
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