May 17, 2022 - Sports

Blinken tells wife of Brittney Griner her case is a top priority

Brittney Griner

Brittney Griner at the 2021 WNBA semifinals. Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Brittney Griner's wife, Cherelle Griner, a State Department spokesperson confirmed to Axios Tuesday.

The big picture: Blinken told Cherelle Griner the case is a top priority for the State Department and that she should reach out if there is anything she is not getting, per CNN.

State of play: Griner's pretrial detention in Russia was extended for another month last week after the WNBA star was arrested in the country in March on drug charges.

The big picture: The State Department said last week a U.S. consular officer at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow has spoken to Griner, but visit requests to see her have been repeatedly denied.

  • A third request in the past month was denied recently, the official account of U.S. Embassy in Moscow tweeted on May 17.

State Department spokesperson Ned Price at a press briefing Tuesday said the U.S.'s "Sporadic contact" with Griner "was not satisfactory," and "may not be consistent with Vienna Convention to which Russia has subscribed."

  • "We continue to urge the Russian government to allow consistent, timely consular access to all US citizens detained in Russia in line with those very legal obligations and to allow us to provide consular services for US citizens, detained in Russia, " Price added.

What they're saying: "We remain in regular contact with the families of those held hostage or wrongfully detained; we are grateful for their partnership and feedback; and we continue to work to ensure we are communicating and sharing information in a way that is useful to them," a State Department spokesperson told Axios in an email Monday.

Editor's note: This post was updated with comments from State Department spokesperson Ned Price.

Go deeper