Following the Griner sentence, Russia says it is prepared to discuss prisoner swaps with the United States.

John Kirby, a spokesperson for the National Security Council, stated on Thursday that the United States has made a “serious proposal” for a prisoner exchange and urged Russia to “accept it.”

When we initially made it, they ought to have embraced it, he said. When asked if Washington had taken Russia’s counteroffer into consideration, he responded: “We shouldn’t, in my opinion, go as far as calling it a counteroffer.

Griner, 31, was convicted guilty of cocaine possession and smuggling on Thursday and given a nine-year prison term in Russia. She will also be required to pay a 1 million ruble ($16,590) punishment, but she has the right to appeal the decision.

In February, the basketball player was detained at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport when Russian investigators claimed to have discovered cannabis oil-containing vape cartridges in her luggage.

Griner, a center for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury who has spent the last seven winters playing in Russia, acknowledged that the canisters were hers. She claimed, however, that she had unintentionally carried them to Russia after hastily packed her suitcase.

The two-time Olympic gold medalist apologized once more and reiterated that she had made an honest mistake and never intended to violate any Russian laws in her final appeal for forgiveness on Thursday.

According to Griners’ legal team, the basketball star was quite dissatisfied with Thursday’s verdict.

Her attorneys claimed in a separate statement posted on the messaging platform Telegram that the court completely disregarded all of the defense’s evidence and, most significantly, the guilty plea. They declared that they will appeal.

the Phoenix Mercury, Griners’ WNBA team, expressed optimism that the Biden administration would be successful in securing her release.

Although we were aware that nothing about the legal system would ever return our friend home, the franchise said in a statement that the verdict is a sobering turning point in our sister BG’s 168-day misery.

We still feel terrible for her, as we have for almost six months now. We continue to be appreciative of and confident in the public employees working daily to bring her back to her family and us “It read.

In the meantime, the Biden administration has come under increasing pressure from Griner’s family and teammates to gain her release. The Kremlin has been accused of exploiting Griner as a political pawn.

In London, Chantal Da Silva works as a breaking news editor for NBC News Digital.
Contributors included Julia Jester and Yuliya Talmazan.