US Diplomats Meet With Brittney Griner

Administration says Russia still refuses US offer for 2 Americans being held
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 3, 2022 3:58 PM CDT
US Officials See Griner, Praise Her Tenacity
Brittney Griner is shown on the bottom part of a TV screen on a video link provided by the Russian Federal Penitentiary Service prior to a hearing at the Moscow Regional Court in Moscow, Russia, last week.   (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

Officials from the US Embassy in Moscow were able to meet Thursday with Brittney Griner, the American WNBA star imprisoned in Russia, for the first time in months. The meeting was confirmed by the State Department, the Washington Post reports. "We are told she's doing as well as can be expected under the circumstances," said White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Thursday. A Russian court turned down Griner's appeal of her drug possession conviction last week. She's been detained since February, when she was charged with bringing less than a gram of cannabis oil into Russia, and is now serving a 9-and-a-half-year sentence.

The US diplomats "saw firsthand her tenacity and perseverance despite her present circumstances," Jean-Pierre said, per NBC News. White House officials said the Biden administration is looking into new terms for winning Griner's release, per the Wall Street Journal. Jean-Pierre said Russia turned down a "significant offer" to settle the detention of Griner and Paul Whelan, an ex-Marine also being held. "Despite a lack of good-faith negotiation by the Russians, the US government has continued to follow up on that offer," Jean-Pierre said. The release of the Americans remains a top priority for the administration, she added. (Read more Brittney Griner stories.)

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