Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, said his country is open to talks on exchanging prisoners for prisoned Americans like Britney Griner, but he warned that the Moscow would rebuff demands from the public to release US basketball player Brittney Griner and other prisoners jailed in Russian jails.
Lavrov’s comments come after the day when Griner was sentenced to nine year of prison time for narcotics offences that were perceived as a ploy to seek an exchange for prominent Russians now doing time in the American prison system, notably the arms dealer Viktor Bout.
Lavrov in his press conference in Cambodia shared that they are willing to consult the swap of criminals. However, it has to be done with the channels that are approved by both the presidents of both the countries. He also talked about a backchannel. Apparently it was set up by the American president and the Russian president, where both of them agreed that no matter whoever says whatever in the media or in public, the backchannel will always be relevant.
Russia Ready For A Prisoner Swap For Britney Griner:
The ex-marine Trevor Reed, who had spent more than a couple of years in captivity in Russia before being released in April in exchange for Konstantin Yaroshenko, a Russian aviator. He had been incarcerated for more than ten years on charges of smuggling drugs, appears to have been freed thanks to that backchannel.
Lavrov demanded that all conversations be conducted in secret and issued a warning that Russia would not accept “megaphone diplomacy.”
Lavrov claimed that he did not talk about the possibility of a straight swap along with Antony Blinken, for Britney Griner from the US secretary of state, who was also present at the Asean summit in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia.
While watching Britney Griner’s star player accept her sentence and make a mercy plea on television before a game, Griner’s US colleagues at the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury were in tears.