Top Russian Official: Biden Not Interested in Releasing Brittney Griner, Only Cares about Midterms

An aide to Russian leader Vladimir Putin has claimed that Democrat President Joe Biden is not interested in negotiating the release of WNBA star Brittney Griner.

In a statement, Yury Ushakov said that Biden is only making public calls to release Griner because he thinks it will help with the midterms.

However, Ushakov claims that it is a non-issue behind the scenes and no negotiations have been taking place.

Ushakov, who was Russia’s ambassador to the United States between 1998 and 2008, warned that freeing Griner from prison is not a priority for the Kremlin.

“In this tense situation, I think that he is thinking first and foremost about the upcoming midterm elections so he keeps emphasizing the need to bring back home the basketball player who was detained for drug smuggling,” he said.

“However, it’s not the main issue that we are concerned about.”

As Slay News reported, Griner’s lawyer, Alexandr D. Boykov, who last spoke with Griner on October 11, said Griner is starting to lose hope for a quick solution.

“She is not yet absolutely convinced that America will be able to take her home,” Boykov said.

“She is very worried about what the price of that will be, and she is afraid that she will have to serve the whole sentence here in Russia.

“Perhaps the verdict will somehow be changed and, perhaps, the sentence will be reduced, because the decision taken by the first court is very different from judicial practice.

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“Considering all the circumstances, taking into account my client’s personality traits and her admission of guilt, such a verdict should be absolutely impossible.”

According to The New York Times:

Ms. Griner was also reading a biography of the rock band the Rolling Stones, Ms. Kalugina said, adding that she sometimes also played a game with her cellmates that is similar to the board game Battleship.

Ms. Kalugina said that in Ms. Griner’s lockup, a pretrial detention center inside Correctional Colony No. 1, women were allowed to shower twice a week.

She also said that, when they met, Ms. Griner had told her she was suffering from pain including headaches.

Mr. Boykov said that the prison was dated and uncomfortable. “It’s an old building, and made of stone,” he noted. “When it is hot outside, it’s too hot, and when it’s cold outside, it is too cold.”

According to Axios:

Russia confirmed in August that it was negotiating with the U.S. about a potential prisoner exchange.

“Not with Putin,” President Biden said Wednesday when asked if there had been any progress on a potential meeting with the Russian president to discuss Griner’s case, per a White House pool report.

Griner’s spouse, Cherelle Griner, said in an interview earlier this month that Griner had suffered to “the max.”

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By David Hawkins

David Hawkins is a writer who specializes in political commentary and world affairs. He's been writing professionally since 2014.

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