WNBA: Brittney Griner for the ‘Merchant of Death’, the exchange requested by Russia: Should blackmail be given in?

Ehe media noise created in the United States around the American basketball player Brittney Grinerarrested in Russia for alleged drug trafficking and who this Thursday declared himself guilty as chargeddoes not help the negotiations between Moscow and Washington for an exchange of prisonersRussian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Thursday.

“We have long-established negotiation mechanisms for these issues. We understand the attempts of the US side to stir up this situation, to make noise in the public space, but they do not help to the practical solution of this matter“, he declared to the press, according to Interfax.

We understand the attempts of the American side to stir up this situation, to make noise in the public space, but they do not help the practical solution of this matter”

Sergei Riabkov, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister

Riabkov recalled that the trial against Griner has not concluded and as long as there is no verdict from a court, “there is no formal basis” to speak of next steps.

According to the diplomat, the persistence with which the United States classifies its citizens convicted or prosecuted in Russia as ‘detained persons’, “reflects the Washington’s unwillingness to face reality in a proper way.”

“It is quite difficult to engage in a detailed negotiation of any kind of exchange” between prisoners from both countries in the context of so many accusations, media noise and in the networks created by the United States.

The Russian deputy foreign minister stressed that what will really help Griner is not communications from the President Joe Biden with his family“but serious attention on the part of the United States of the signals they receive from Russiafrom Moscow, through specialized channels”.

Biden telephoned Griner’s family on Wednesday, after he received numerous criticisms for not having responded earlier to a letter the athlete sent him on Monday.

According to the White House, Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris spoke by phone with Griner’s wife, Cherelle, to assure her that they are working to free his wife as soon as possibleas well as other Americans “unjustly” arrested in Russia.

Griner for the ‘Merchant of Death’

Russia’s objective is clear: they want the exchange of Griner for the Russian arms dealer Viktor Boutknown as the ‘Death Merchant‘, who is serving time in an American prison.

According to the dangerous drug trafficker’s American lawyer, Steve Zissou, the Kremlin intends to exchange him for an American detained in Russia, possibly basketball star Brittney Griner.

The possible exchange generates a debate in American society about whether to give in to the Kremlin’s blackmail given the difference in charges between the two: But was convicted of serious crimes while Griner is considered by the US authorities as a hostage.

I would take that trade

Michael McFaul, former US Ambassador to Russia

“I would accept that exchange”said Michael McFaul, former US ambassador to Russia, according to the US network NBC News. Under federal sentencing rules, Bout could be out of prison in five years.

Viktor Bout was arrested in Thailand in 2008 by US agents and is currently serving a sentence of 25 years in prison in the United States.

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