Nov 3, 2022 - Sports

Brittney Griner met with U.S. embassy officials, White House says

WNBA basketball player Brittney Griner leaves court.

WNBA basketball player Brittney Griner leaves a courtroom in Moscow. Photo: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP via Getty Images

Brittney Griner, the WNBA star imprisoned in Russia, met with U.S. embassy officials Thursday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre confirmed.

The latest: “We are told she's doing as well as can be expected under the circumstances,” Jean-Pierre told reporters aboard Air Force One.

  • Jean-Pierre said Thursday that the U.S. government "made a significant offer to the Russians to resolve the current unacceptable and wrongful detentions of American citizens, Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan."

State of play: The U.S. has maintained that Griner has been "wrongfully detained" by Russia. She was found guilty on drug charges by a Russian court in August.

  • A Russian court at the end of October rejected an appeal from Griner’s team, upholding her nine-year prison sentence. She is expected to be sent to a penal colony to serve out her sentence.
  • In the appeal hearing, Griner apologized for her “honest mistake,” saying the situation had become "very, very stressful," per BBC News.

The big picture: The U.S. has previously engaged in negotiations with Russia about a potential deal that would bring Griner and Whelan, a former Marine imprisoned there, back to the United States.

  • Jean-Pierre told reporters Thursday that the U.S. "has continued to follow up on that offer and propose alternative potential ways forward with Russians through all available channels. This continues to be a top priority."
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin said earlier in October that Griner’s release was not a priority for him and Russian officials.

Editor's note: This story was updated with additional context.

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