President Joe Biden vowed Tuesday that his administration will proceed its efforts to free American basketball star Brittney Griner, who’s been saddled with a nine-year jail sentence in Russia regardless of ongoing diplomatic efforts to carry her dwelling.
“We’re in fixed contact with Russian authorities to get Brittney and others out,” Biden stated at a press briefing, referencing each the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury star and different Individuals in custody of the Kremlin, which is understood for taking political prisoners.
His remarks got here hours after a Moscow court docket upheld Griner’s sentence, which Russian authorities handed down in August.
“Up to now, we’ve got not been assembly with a lot optimistic response, however we’re not stopping,” Biden promised.
The 2-time Olympic gold medalist, who was on her approach to play with the Russian Premier League in the course of the WNBA offseason, was first detained at a Russian airport in February after authorities discovered cartridges containing lower than a gram of cannabis oil in her baggage.
Griner was detained amid excessive tensions between Russia and the U.S., which has strongly opposed the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine and sanctioned Russia for its actions there. Russia took Griner into custody one week earlier than launching its invasion of Ukraine.
The Biden administration has confronted immense stress to carry dwelling Griner, whose supporters say she is getting used as a political pawn amid Russia’s diplomatic friction with the U.S. In July, Biden accredited a possible prisoner trade to carry the basketball star and different prisoners dwelling, however negotiations fell by when Russia demanded that the commerce embody a convicted Russian murderer.
Griner’s spouse, Cherelle Griner, stated earlier this month she was hopeful a prisoner trade would work out earlier than Tuesday’s listening to so her spouse may keep away from being despatched to a labor camp.
“My mind can’t even fathom it,” she instructed “CBS Mornings,” including: “I don’t know if she has something left in her tank to proceed to get up each day and be in a spot the place she has nobody.”