PHOENIX MERCURY

Russia has not seriously engaged in negotiations for Brittney Griner, per report

Nov 19, 2022, 11:30 AM | Updated: 11:31 am
FILE - WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner is escorted from a courtroom af...

FILE - WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner is escorted from a courtroom after a hearing in Khimki just outside Moscow, Russia, on Aug. 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)

(AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)

The U.S. State Department said Russia still has not seriously engaged in negotiations for Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner, according to ESPN’s T.J. Quinn.

Russia had reportedly said there was new activity in talks to bring a convicted arms dealer back to Russia, which the United States vehemently denied.

“We are not going to comment on the specifics of any proposals other than to say that we have made a substantial offer that the Russian Federation has consistently failed to negotiate in good faith,” the statement said in Quinn’s ESPN story. “The U.S. Government has continued to follow up on that offer and propose alternative potential ways forward with the Russian government. The Russian government’s failure to seriously negotiate on these issues in the established channel or any other channel for that matter runs counter to its public statements.”

The report says the camp close to Griner remains hopeful that President Joe Biden is doing everything in his power to bring the WNBA superstar home after she started her nine-year sentence in a Russian penal colony, confirmed by her attorneys but not by Russia.

Penal colony is a term used to describe the most common type of prison in Russia, where inmates are housed in barracks and engage in menial labor for symbolic pay.

Under Josef Stalin, forced-labor camps in far-flung locations dotted the entire USSR; some well-known ones were in Mordovia.

One of Griner’s attorneys reportedly said Russian officials typically notify families and attorneys about a prisoner’s location by mail, despite the United States being unaware of where she is being held.

Her attorneys were able to meet with Griner in person on Monday at an undisclosed location but U.S. embassy officials have not been able to visit her yet, according to the report.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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