Nov 19, 2022 - Sports

U.S. says Russia has not negotiated "in good faith" for WNBA star Griner

US Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) basketball player Brittney Griner, who was detained at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport.

WNBA player Brittney Griner leaves the courtroom. Photo: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP via Getty Images

Federal officials denied reports Friday that there was any increased optimism of a prisoner swap deal for WNBA star Brittney Griner and Marine Paul Whalen.

Why it matters: The discussion of a deal came days after Griner started serving her nine-year sentence at a penal colony outside of Moscow, per Axios.

Catch up quick: On Friday, a senior Russian official told the news agency Interfax that the Kremlin was hoping to secure the release of convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout in any prisoner swap.

  • Securing the release of detained Americans Griner and Whelan has been top of mind for the Biden administration in recent talks with Russia.

Yes, but: U.S. officials dismissed Russia's tease Friday, saying the Kremlin did not have serious interest in striking a deal.

  • "We are not going to comment on the specifics of any proposals other than to say that we have made a substantial offer that the Russian Federation has consistently failed to negotiate in good faith," the State Department said Friday, per ESPN.
  • "The U.S. Government has continued to follow up on that offer and propose alternative potential ways forward with the Russian government. The Russian government's failure to seriously negotiate on these issues in the established channel, or any other channel for that matter runs counter to its public statements."

Flashback: Biden administration officials have been trying to negotiate Griner's release for months. In July, the U.S. made a "substantial proposal" for Griner and Whelan.

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