According to Biden administration officials, a phone connection between detained WNBA star Brittney Griner and her wife has been rescheduled after an earlier attempt to connect on the couple’s anniversary failed due to an “unfortunate misunderstanding.”
Ned Price, a spokesman for the State Department, stated that a logistical issue prevented the initial conversation from last weekend from being completed, but that it has been rapidly resolved in order for a fresh call to be made. The rescheduled call’s date was not specified by the White House or the State Department.
On Saturday, the couple’s fourth wedding anniversary, Brittney Griner was scheduled to speak with her wife Cherelle for the first time since her detention in Russia in mid-February. The American embassy in Russia was supposed to patch through the dialogue as the call was being forwarded through it.
Even though the call had been scheduled for approximately two weeks and had been approved by the Russian government, Cherelle Griner claimed to The Associated Press on Monday that it never went through.
Brittney Griner is supported by the WNBA
She claimed that although at first she was worried that Russian authorities had prevented the connection, she later discovered that her wife had made 11 attempts to phone her on Saturday using a number for the U.S. embassy that she had been provided.
Price stated on Tuesday that the department profoundly regretted the mistake, which he claimed was made worse by staffing shortages at the embassy, including technicians who are stationed in a foreign nation as a result of limitations imposed by the Russian government on the embassy and its activities.
A senior State Department official said earlier on Tuesday that the call was intended to go through the Marine Guard station at the embassy, which is staffed around the clock, but that it was instead forwarded through a remote facility that was unmanned on Saturday.
The Phoenix Mercury’s Brittney Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, and seven-time WNBA All-Star were detained on February 17 at a Russian airport after officials there said a search of her suitcase turned up vape cartridges containing cannabis oil.