Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated the U.S. is “actively” working to safe the discharge of WNBA star Brittney Griner and former marine Paul Whelan, two Americans presently imprisoned in Russia.
“We did put a significant proposal on the table many months ago,” Blinken stated Sunday. “And since then, we’ve been engaged repeatedly, in any way that we can, to try to advance it and to look to see if there are different permutations that could achieve what we’re trying to achieve, which is to get our people home.”
“We will not stop until we do,” he added.
Blinken famous that regardless of what the U.S. provided, “the other side gets a vote in this. It’s not just what we want. It’s what they’re prepared to do.”
Griner was arrested in February in Moscow after authorities discovered a small quantity of hashish oil in her baggage. She was convicted in August and sentenced to 9 years in a penal colony, the place she was transferred final month. Whelan has been held since 2018 after being arrested throughout a go to to the nation for a marriage. He was convicted on espionage fees and sentenced in 2020 to 16 years in jail.
President Joe Biden has stated he’s “determined” to convey Griner dwelling, saying he was hopeful Russian President Vladimir Putin could be extra open to discussions after this year’s midterm elections.
“The proof will be in the pudding,” Blinken stated Sunday. “We are not resting on the laurels of having put forward a proposal some months ago, we’ve been actively engaged over these many months to try to move things forward.”