Russia reportedly remains unwilling to negotiate a prisoner swap for WNBA star Brittney Griner, despite President Joe Biden’s plea to Vladimir Putin earlier this week to discuss the matter more seriously.
Griner is being transferred to a penal colony to begin her 9-year sentence. She was arrested last February at Sheremetyevo International Airport for carrying a vape cartridge containing THC oils, and convicted in August.
US national security adviser Jake Sullivan said the US put together ‘a series of proposals’ for the Kremlin, which has not engaged on the subject.
“As we work to secure Brittney Griner’s release, we expect Russian authorities to provide our Embassy officials with regular access to all US citizens detained in Russia, including Brittney, as is their obligation,’ the US said in a statement Tuesday.
“‘Ensuring the health and welfare of US citizen detainees in Russia is a priority, and we will continue to press for fair and transparent treatment for them all.”
Brittney Griner on the move, Biden expresses hope
On the same day Griner was supposedly being moved into exile, President Biden reiterated that his “intention is to bring her home.”
The problem is, Russia reportedly still won’t engage as Griner heads to a remote Labor Camp notorious for abusive treatment of inmates.
Penal colonies are also known as ‘exile colonies,’ and are used for just that – cutting off prisoners from the outside world. They are usually some sort of settlement that is completely separate them from the general population, and can often be an island or distant colonial territory.
While Biden said earlier this week they’ve had multiple discussions with the Russians, it appears those conversations haven’t gone very far.
Friday’s latest report suggests the two sides remain miles apart in any deal as the prospects of bringing Griner back to the US look bleaker by the day.