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Russia ready to talk about Britney Griner's prisoner swap, Lavrov says

Top Russian diplomat Friday, a day after Britney Griner was convicted of cannabis possession, Kremlin prepares to discuss prisoner exchange with USand sentenced to nine years in prison.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says that Presidents Vladimir Putin and President Joe Biden will use private diplomatic channels to discuss possible prisoner exchanges "no matter what anyone says publicly." said it had previously agreed to do so.

Lavrov told reporters about the potential exchange, while attending the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in Cambodia. President Putin and President Biden.

He added:

Griner, 31, was sentenced to nine years in a Russian prisoner after being found guilty of cannabis smuggling.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken decried Griner's "wrongful detention" and on Friday vowed to pursue prisoner swap talks with his Russian counterpart
Both Lavrov and Blinken attended a summit in Cambodia but did not meet in private.

Lavrov's American counterpart, via Getty Images Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has agreed that Washington is ready to pursue negotiations with Moscow through established diplomatic channels. , has been imprisoned in Russia on espionage convictions,and there was discussion that it could be exchanged for the notorious Victor Bout. An arms dealer known as the "Merchant of Death" who is serving a 25-year sentence in the United States.  

After the announcement of Griner's verdict at the Khimki court on the outskirts of Moscow on Thursday, Brinken said in a statement that her sentence "exacerbates the injustice of her unjust detention." said.

The Kremlin has remained tight-lipped about the possibility of an exchange, stating that even if a prisoner exchange was discussed in the media, it would never happen. We have already made that mistake and suddenly decided to use megaphone diplomacy to solve these problems, ”said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. "This is not how they are resolved."

A possible prisoner exchange deal would also include retire Marine Paul Whelan, who is serving time in Russia on an espionage conviction.

Peskov said: It declined to comment on Griner's verdict. When asked if she could be pardoned, he said the clemency procedure is codified in Russian law.

To secure it, it has already made what Blinken called a "substantial offer."

"We urge them to embrace it," said White House National Security Spokesman John Kirby. "They should have accepted it weeks before we first made it."

Kirby didn't elaborate on the proposal, but a source familiar with the matter said Biden The administration offered to exchange bouts for two imprisoned Americans. He reportedly tried to join the proposed exchange.

A State Department official said Brinken and Lavrov did not meet at the summit in Cambodia, CNN reported.

There have been discussions that Griner and Whelan could be exchanged for Victor Bout, an arms dealer who is serving 25 years in the US.

Griner said that he was at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport on February 17. was arrested for possessing ark his cartridges, which contained hashish. She oiled her luggage.

The United States claimed that she was unjustly detained and used by the Russian government as a political pawn chip. He said he should be judged accordingly. Law.

Griner tearfully apologized and begged for mercy before her verdict was announced on Thursday.

 "I never meant to hurt anyone. Russia." I had no intention of endangering the population, nor did I intend to break any laws here," she said.

``I have made an honest mistake. I know, but I hope it's far from this court," she added. }