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Just one day after Brittney Griner’s appeal was denied and her nine-year prison sentence was upheld in a Russian court, the Kremlin has sent a warning to President Joe Biden and the White House.
On Wednesday, reporters asked Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov if there was a possibility Griner could be released as part of a prisoner swap. Peskov issued the warning in his answer to the question.
“We always say that any contacts about possible exchanges can only be conducted in silence under a tight lid on any information,” Peskov said.
This isn’t the first time Peskov has issued this type of warning. In August, Peskov made a similar comment about a potential prisoner swap involving Griner.
“If we discuss prisoner exchanges via the press then they will never take place,” he said at the time, according to Reuters.
Griner was arrested in February at an airport in Moscow when customs officials said she was carrying vape cartridges containing hash oil. When Griner pleaded guilty to the drug charges in July, she explained she had “packed in a hurry.”
President Biden and the White House have continued to drag their feet in this situation, and it sounds like things may have gotten that much more difficult regarding a potential swap.
Griner has become extremely pessimistic about an early release.
“She is not yet absolutely convinced that America will be able to take her home,” Griner’s lawyer, Alexandr D. Boykov told The New York Times earlier this month. “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.”