As Brittney Griner continues to be imprisoned in Russia, CIA Director William Burns recently spoke with his Russian counterpart about U.S. prisoners. Ever since she was arrested in February, the WNBA star has been waiting for some kind of relief, but it has yet to come.
A spokesman for the Russian government spoke with news agencies in the country recently, according to Reuters. There was a meeting between U.S. and Russian officials in the city of Ankara, the capital of Turkey. However, that spokesman refused to say what the contents of those meetings were.
Thanks to a White House spokesperson, who spoke anonymously to the news outlet, we have an idea of what went down. According to that source, Burns met with the head of Russia’s foreign intelligence agency. The two talked about nuclear weapons, Ukraine, and “unjustly detained U.S. citizens,” like Brittney Griner.
For Griner, things have gone from bad to worse. The basketball star was sentenced to 9 years in prison back in October. According to her attorneys in Russia, that sentence will be served at a labor camp. Right now, U.S. officials are claiming that Russia is using the athlete as a political tool and nothing more.
What U.S. Officials Are Saying About Brittney Griner
Ever since her arrest, U.S. officials have been advocating for Brittney Griner. When an American, a high-profile one at that, is arrested abroad it can cause all kinds of issues and tensions. In some ways, it appears there is more urgency to get a deal done.
“She is being held unjustly. She should be released immediately,” National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan said.
Even President Joe Biden has remarked in recent days about Brittney Griner.
“My hope is that now that the election is over, that Mr. Putin will be able to discuss with us and be willing to talk more seriously about prisoner exchange,” Biden said.
So, hopefully, in the coming days, there is an update. If talks can continue that’s a good sign. However, this has been a long process with no real progress in sight. While her family, friends, and fans eagerly wait, officials will continue to have talks and look for a solution.