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Lavrov says Russia is ready to discuss prisoner exchange with the United States after Grinner's conviction

(CNN)The United States and Russia are ready to discuss the exchange of prisoners the day after the basketball star. ShownBrittney Grinerwas convicted of drug smuggling and sentenced to9 years in prisonfor carrying less than 1 gram of hemp oil at Moscow Airport. ..

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told Cambodian reporters that the Kremlin is "ready to discuss this topic, but within the framework of the channel agreed by the President." rice field. report.

"There is a specific channel agreed by [Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Joe Biden], and no matter who publicly says, this channel remains valid," Lavrov said. Said on Friday. At the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit.

Soon, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said at the same summit that the United States would "pursue" negotiations with Russia.

"As you know, we have submitted a substantive proposal that Russia should be involved with us, and what Foreign Minister Lavrov said publicly this morning is They are ready to get involved through the channels we have established. Mr Blinken told reporters at a press conference.

Russian government officialssaid last month. He demanded that a former captain of a domestic spy agency, convicted of murder in Germany last year, be included in the proposed swap in the United States. Blinken, controversial sources, told CNN.
U.S. citizen Whelan has been detained in Russia since 2018 and will be in Russian court in 2020. By, he was convicted of a spy that he violently denied. Grinner's conviction raised similar concerns that she was being used as a political pawn in Russia's war with Ukraine. The U.S. State Department has classified the pair as illegally detained.

Women's Basketball Association star Greener traveled to Moscow Airport on February 17th. She pleaded guilty to carrying cannabis oil in her luggage. She knew Russia's strict drug law in court and said she was in a hurry to "stress pack". I didn't intend to bring cannabis into the country.

Prior to Thursday's verdict, Greener apologized to the court and sought generosity in an emotional speech. "I didn't mean to hurt anyone, I didn't mean to endanger the Russian people, I didn't mean to break the law here," she said.

"I made an honest mistake. I hope your judgment will not end my life here. Everyone keeps talking about political courts and politics. I know that, but I hope it's far from this court, "she continued.

Greener's lawyer hoped that her plea and remorse statement would lead to a more generous judgment.

Her belief told reporters, "Russia's legal system and the use of the Russian government's illegal detention to advance its own agenda using individuals as political pawns [Washington's] ] Put the spotlight on very serious concerns. "

"The same is true for Paul Whelan," Blinken added.

Last Friday, US State Department officials told reporters that there was no "serious reaction" from Russia to the proposed exchange. The same official said Blinken and Lavrov had not met during the Cambodian summit, and Blinken had no plans to do so.

Before the start of the WNBA game between Phoenix Mercury and Connecticut Sun on Thursday, members of both teams tied their arms around the center court and silenced for Brittney Griner for 42 seconds. Was done.

Near the end of 42 seconds, members of the crowd began chanting, "Bring her to her house! Bring her to her house!"

This story has been updated with additional development.