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The United States says Brittney Griner has proposed a deal with Russia to Paul Whelan

The Biden administration has offered Russia a deal aimed at taking WNBA star Brittney Griner and another imprisoned American Paul Whelan home.

Washington — The United States has offered Russia a deal aimed at bringing the WNBA star home Brittney Griner And another imprisoned American, Paul Whelan, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday.With a sharp reversal of previous policy, Blinken also said he expects him to speak to his Kremlin counterpart for the first time ever. Russia invades Ukraine Discuss transactions and other issues.

Brinken’s comments show that for the first time publicly revealed concrete actions taken by the U.S. government to secure the release of Greener, who was arrested on drug-related charges at Moscow Airport in February. Testified on Wednesday at her trial.. It’s unclear if the proposal is sufficient for Russia to free Americans, but the official approval of the proposal when the United States shunned Russia was the increasing pressure on the administration against Greener and Welan and their determination to obtain them. Reflects the house.

“To facilitate the release, I brought a substantive proposal to the table a few weeks ago. Our government has repeatedly communicated directly with the proposal. I personally used the conversation. I would like to follow up with and move us towards a solution, “Blinken said.

Blinken did not provide the Russians with the details of the proposed transaction outlined, but US officials suggested that it was similar to ensuring the release of prisoner exchange. Marine veteran Trevor Reed During April.Russia does not keep that desire secret Convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout Freed from US prisons, authorities will not deny that Bout’s release is at the table.

After meeting with his parents, President Joe Biden, who approved the exchange of lead prisoners, approved the deal offered by the United States in the case, officials said.

“The president and his team are willing to take extraordinary steps to take them home,” White House national security spokesman John Kirby told reporters. ..

If a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov takes place, it will be the first conversation a man has had since February 15, about a week before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. U.S. officials said the desire to respond to prisoners’ offers was the main reason the U.S. demanded a new call with Lavrov on Wednesday, but not only.

Brinken also told Lavrov about the importance of observing a UN-mediated agreement that Russia would release tons of Ukrainian grain from storage, and Russia’s attempt to merge parts of eastern and southern Ukraine. He said he warned about the dangers of the attempt.

“It is useful to convey a clear and direct message to the Russians about the priorities that are important to us,” he said, including the release of Greener and Welan. It also includes “What we see and hear around the world is the urgent need for food, the urgent need for lower prices.”

Whelan, a corporate security executive in Michigan, was sentenced to 16 years in prison from 2020 on charges of espionage. He and his family vigorously claimed his innocence. The US government has accused the accusation of being false.

Greener, who had been detained in Russia for the past five months, admitted in court that he had an arc cartridge with cannabis oil in his luggage when he arrived in Moscow in February, but had no criminal intent. Insisted and accidentally packed the cartridge.

At a trial on Wednesday, Greener said he didn’t know how hemp oil got into the bag, but explained that he had rushed to pack it at the doctor’s suggestion. She was pulled aside at the airport after the inspector found the cartridge, but the language interpreter translated only a small part of what was said during her question, and authorities did not provide an explanation. She said she had instructed her to sign the document.

If convicted of transporting drugs, Greener faces up to 10 years in prison.

The U.S. government is concerned that it may promote false equivalence between illegally detained Americans and foreigners who are deemed to have been duly convicted and may encourage additional hostages. I have long resisted the exchange of prisoners. But in the early trading in April, Reed was exchanged for a Russian pilot who was imprisoned, Konstantin Yaroschenko appears to open the door to a similar resolution in the future, and the Biden administration has been plagued by political pressure to bring Greener and other Americans who have been designated as unfairly detained. ..

Russia has been interested in the release of Bout, a Russian arms dealer named “Merchants of Death” for many years.

There were no signs that Blinken and Lavrov had contacted to secure Reed’s release. Their last publicly recognized contact was on February 22, when Blinken wrote to Lavrov to cancel the meeting he planned as his last effort to avoid the Russian invasion, and Moscow on this issue. He said he was not interested in serious diplomacy. The State Department later stated that Russia’s diplomacy was a “Kabuki theater.”

The two finally met in Geneva in January about Russia’s massive military buildup along the Ukrainian border and Russia’s demand for NATO to reduce its presence in Eastern Europe and permanently refuse to join Ukraine. We talked. The United States rejected Russia’s request.

Blinken and Lavrov avoided each other earlier this month at a group foreign ministers’ meeting in Bali, Indonesia, when they were in the same place at the same time.

The two men will be staying in the same city in Phnom Penh, Cambodia next week at the same time to participate in the ASEAN Regional Forum. It was not immediately clear whether the phone call prior to the meeting, scheduled for August 4-5, would signal a direct discussion.

The United States says Brittney Griner has proposed a deal with Russia to Paul Whelan

Source link The United States says Brittney Griner has proposed a deal with Russia to Paul Whelan

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