Russian Officials Speak on Brittney Griner’s Potential Release

by Chris Haney
(Photo by KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP via Getty Images)

On Sunday, a Russian official admitted that the release of WNBA star Brittney Griner is not a priority as President Joe Biden continues to advocate for the imprisoned basketball player.

During a TV appearance over the weekend, Yury Ushakov, a close aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin, spoke about Griner’s detainment. According tUSA Today, Ushakov made the comments on Moscow.Kremlin.Putin. – a state-run TV program.

“In this tense situation, I think that he (Biden) is thinking first and foremost about the upcoming midterm elections,” Ushakov said.

“He keeps emphasizing the need to bring (Griner) back home … however, it’s not the main issue that we are concerned about,” he added.

Russian authorities arrested the 31-year-old Phoenix Mercury star back in February at a Moscow airport. The arrest came just days after Russia began an unprovoked invasion of neighboring Ukraine. Authorities caught the Olympic gold medalist traveling with vape cartridges in her luggage. After pleading guilty to the charges, a Russian court sentenced Brittney Griner to nine years behind bars.

The Biden administration claims she’s been wrongfully detained and given a harsh sentence. The U.S. government, along with numerous athletes and celebrities, also claim Griner is a political prisoner in Russia.

However, as of last week, President Biden shared that he has no intention of meeting with President Putin. Biden did say he’d consider a discussion under certain circumstances with Putin at the upcoming G20 summit in Indonesia.

Brittney Griner’s Wife Voices Concern That Her Partner Will Never Return Home

The Russian official’s comments also follow a recent interview with Brittney Griner’s wife, Cherelle. Two weeks ago, Cherelle spoke with CBS’ Gayle King in an interview where she touched on her wife’s detainment in Russia. During their talk, Griner’s partner claimed that she’s scared Brittney won’t ever make it back to the United States. Further, Cherelle stated that the whole ordeal has made her feel like she’s stuck in a movie.

“In no world would I have ever thought our president and a foreign nation president would be sitting down having to discuss the freedom of my wife,” Cherelle said on CBS Mornings. “It feels to me as if she is a hostage. … It terrifies me.”

For Brittney Griner’s sake, her partner is hoping that both Russia and the U.S. can put their differences to the side and work towards a solution that brings the WNBA star home sooner rather than later.

“My brain can’t even fathom it,” Cherelle said to Gayle King. “I feel like everyday I hear something new, and it’s terrifying.”