As expected, Russia announced on Friday that it was ready to discuss a prisoner exchange with the United States for American basketball star Brittney Griner. The day after he was sentenced to nine years in prison by a Russian court for drug trafficking. A controversial case since the player was simply in possession of a vaporizer containing cannabis liquid, her arrest is an unfortunate consequence of the geopolitical crisis between the United States and Russia, due to the conflict in Ukraine.
“We are ready to discuss this subject, but only within the framework of the (communication) channel that was agreed by Presidents (Vladimir) Putin and (Joe) Biden,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei said on Friday. Lavrov. In particular, he criticizes the Americans for engaging in public diplomacy by making numerous statements outside the presidential channel provided for this purpose. In recent weeks, the Russians expressed the possibility of an exchange of the Olympic champion after the verdict fell.
A possible exchange for an arms dealer
Antony Blinken, the head of American diplomacy has initiated the first discussions with Lavrov in order to discuss a potential exchange. He would like the release of Griner and Paul Whelan, an American prisoner convicted of espionage. According to the American media, the prisoner claimed by the Russians is none other than the illustrious Viktor Bout. Arrested in Thailand in 2008, he is one of the most influential arms traffickers in the world, infamous for his nickname “the merchant of death”. He even inspired the character of Nicolas Cage in the movie “Lord of War”.