US and Russia are still talking about release of Griner and Whelan, top diplomat tells state media

Washington and Moscow continue to discuss the release of US prisoners Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan, the US Chargé d’Affaires in Russia told Russian state media Monday.



“As we have already said, the United States has submitted a serious proposal for consideration. We worked on this proposal and offered alternatives. Unfortunately, no serious response has been received from the Russian Federation to this proposal,” Elizabeth Rood said in an interview with Russian state media outlet RIA Novosti.



“I mean a response that would help us come to an agreement,” she added.



US basketball star Griner is imprisoned in Russia after being convicted of deliberately smuggling drugs into the country in October. There are concerns she is being used as a political pawn in Russia’s war against Ukraine.



Whelan is a US citizen who has been wrongfully detained in Russia for nearly four years.



According to Rood, Griner has not complained about the conditions of her detention in a penal colony and the issue of visiting her is now being worked out.



“As far as we understood from talking to her, she is healthy and doing as well as can be expected in her difficult circumstances,” said Rood.



She added that the embassy staff would visit her “as soon as the Russian authorities give us permission.”

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