CIA Director and Russian Counterpart Discuss Brittney Griner, Paul Whelan
The Biden administration has maintained its determination to bring home Griner and Whelan. Russian authorities recently transferred Griner to the country’s dreaded penal colony, where many prisoners have detailed abuse along with a multitude of other human rights violations. Russian officials jailed Griner in February when authorities arrested her at a Moscow airport after finding a small amount of cannabis oil in her luggage. During her court testimony, Griner said she’s still unsure how cannabis oil ended up in her luggage. She said a doctor recommended cannabis oil for her injuries on the basketball court.thewestsidegazette.com
Russia failed to alert US of Brittney Griner transfer to penal colony, State Department says
Russia did not inform the U.S. of Brittney Griner's transfer to a penal colony ahead of time and has yet to engage in talks about her release "with the seriousness of purpose," the State Department said Thursday.foxnews.com
US Embassy officials visit Brittney Griner in Russia prison
Officials at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow visited jailed WNBA star Brittney Griner on Thursday, just weeks after a Russian court rejected her appeal of her nine-year sentence for drug possession. State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a tweet that the American representatives “saw firsthand her tenacity and perseverance despite her present circumstances." Price said the Biden administration is continuing to press for the immediate release of Griner and Paul Whelan, who was sentenced in 2020 to 16 years in prison in Russia on espionage-related charges that he and his family say are bogus, and "fair treatment for every detained American.”news.yahoo.com
Venezuela swaps 7 jailed Americans for Maduro relatives
Venezuela’s government has freed seven Americans imprisoned in the South American country in exchange for the release of two nephews of President Nicolás Maduro’s wife who had been jailed for years by the United States on drug smuggling convictions.
Biden to Meet with Families of Brittney Griner and Paul Wheelan
The announcement has fueled speculation that the Biden administration may have reached a deal to bring Griner and Whelan home or be closing in on securing their freedom. The announcement has fueled speculation that the Biden administration may have reached a deal to bring Griner and Whelan home or be closing in on securing their freedom. However, the Democrat did so against the wishes of the White House, which had earlier successfully discouraged former NBA star Dennis Rodman from taking the trip. The White House didn’t want news of the planned meeting to give false hope of the detainees’ release. Griner and Whelan’s families hope Biden uses those deal-making skills with Russian President Vladimir Putin.thewestsidegazette.com
Griner, Whelan families to meet Biden amid U.S.-Russia talks
Senior administration officials say President Joe Biden plans to meet at the White House on Friday with the families of WNBA star Brittney Griner and Michigan corporate security executive Paul Whelan, both of whom remain jailed in Russia.cbsnews.com
Veteran emissary Richardson hopeful for Griner, Whelan swap
Bill Richardson, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and a frequent emissary in hostage negotiations, says he's hopeful about the chances of a two-for-two prisoner swap that could result in the release of WNBA star Brittney Griner and another jailed American, Paul Whelan.
Biden Administration Offers ‘Merchant of Death’ in Exchange for Brittney Griner, Paul Wheelan
Several reports said the United States government has offered to swap the so-called “Merchant of Death” Viktor Bout for Griner and another imprisoned American, Paul Whelan. Several reports said the United States government has offered to swap the so-called “Merchant of Death” Viktor Bout for Griner and another imprisoned American, Paul Whelan. During her testimony, Griner told the court that she’s still unsure how cannabis oil ended up in her luggage. She said a doctor recommended cannabis oil for her injuries on the basketball court. “I didn’t have any intent to use or keep in my possession any substance that is prohibited in Russia,” Griner said.thewestsidegazette.com
In rare contact, US offers Russia deal for Griner, Whelan
The U.S. has offered a deal to Russia aimed at bringing home WNBA star Brittney Griner and another jailed American, Paul Whelan, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday. In a sharp reversal of previous policy, Blinken also said he expects to speak with his Kremlin counterpart for the first time since before Russia invaded Ukraine. The statement marked the first time the U.S. government has publicly revealed any concrete action it has taken to secure the release of Griner, who was arrested on drug-related charges at a Moscow airport in February and testified Wednesday at her trial.news.yahoo.com
WNBA's Griner tells drug trial: 'My career is my whole life'
WNBA star Brittney Griner testified at her drug possession trial in Russia that an interpreter translated only a fraction of what was said during questioning when she was detained at Moscow’s airport in February and officials told her to sign documents without giving an explanation.
WNBA's Griner gets support at trial from character witnesses
The drug possession trial of WNBA star Brittney Griner has resumed, with the head of the Russian club she plays for in the offseason and a teammate from that squad testifying in support of her character and what she has meant for women’s basketball in the country.
White House: Biden has read Griner letter pleading for help
Brittney Griner’s appeal to President Joe Biden in a handwritten letter continued to garner reaction Tuesday after the WNBA All-Star acknowledged she feared never returning home and asked Biden not “forget about me and the other American Detainees.”.
UAE dismantles plane of gunrunner Russia wants for Americans
UMM AL-QUWAIN, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The hulking, Soviet-era cargo plane has sat for decades under the blazing sun in a remote corner of the United Arab Emirates, its four jet engines silent after years in the employ of a Russian gunrunner known as the “Merchant of Death.” The emirate of Umm al-Quwain plans a $675 million development on a island just across a lagoon from the deactivated airport where Bout's plane sits.news.yahoo.com
Former USSR soldier displays charred medals after house is shelled
Serhyi Malyshenkon displays medals awarded to him by the USSR for his military service – all now charred after his house in Yasnohorodka, Ukraine, was destroyed by Russian shelling. "This house never did anything wrong to anyone."news.yahoo.com
Russia court rejects ex-U.S. Marine's appeal for release ahead of espionage trial
Former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan speaks from inside a defendants' cage during a court hearing in Moscow, Russia, June 20, 2019. REUTERSMoscow A Russian court has upheld an earlier ruling allowing the extended detention of a former U.S. Marine jailed in Moscow on espionage charges. Moscow's appellate court rejected Paul Whelan's appeal Tuesday against the ruling last year that granted Russian authorities permission to keep him in custody until March 29, pending a trial. Paul Whelan, American accused of spying in Russia, to remain in prisonDays after he arrived in Russia, new U.S. Whelan's Russian lawyer Vladimir Zherebenkov said he and his team were almost done going over the case files with their client, all of which remain classified.cbsnews.com
U.S. says accused American spy's health deteriorating in Russia jail
Former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan, who was detained and accused of espionage, speaks inside a defendants' cage during a court hearing to consider an appeal to extend his detention in Moscow, Russia June 20, 2019. REUTERSMoscow -- The U.S. Embassy in Moscow says the condition of an American man held on spying charges in Russia has worsened. The Embassy said on Twitter Monday that Russian authorities had rejected a request to send a doctor to examine Paul Whelan. U.S. intelligence sources say American jailed in Russia not a spyU.S. intelligence and State Department sources have told CBS News they're confident Whelan is not a spy. At the hearing in May during which his detention was extended, Whelan complained to reporters of alleged abuse in custody.cbsnews.com