WATCH: Secretary of State Describes United States’ ‘Substantial Offer’ to Bring Home Brittney Griner

by Dustin Schutte

United State Secretary of State Antony Blinken has issued a statement regarding the United States’ “substantial offer” to Russia in an effort to bring WNBA star Brittney Griner and U.S. Marine Paul Whelan home. Reuters shared the video through social media.

Earlier in the day, CNN reported the United States offered the release of Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout in exchange for the release of Griner and Whelan. Both are U.S. citizens currently detained. Blinken said there’s urgency to bring both home.

“In the coming days, I expect to speak with Russian Foreign Minister [Sergey] Lavrov for the first time since the war began,” Blinken said. “I plan to raise an issue that’s a top priority for us — the release of Americans Paul Whelan and Brittney Griner, who have been wrongly detained and must be allowed to come home.

“We put a substantial offer on the table weeks ago to facilitate their release. Our governments have communicated repeatedly and directly on that proposal. And I’ll use the conversation to follow up personally, and I hope move us toward a resolution.”

Russian authorities detained Griner after finding cannabis oil at a Moscow Airport in February. Whelan’s arrest came in 2018 on spying accusations.

Brittney Griner Testifies During Her Trial

The statement from Secretary of State Antony Blinken comes a day after Brittney Griner testified in her own trial. She claimed Russian officials did not read off her rights during the arrest.

“I remember one time there was a stack of papers that [the translator] needed to translate for me. He took a brief look and then said the exact words were, ‘Basically you are guilty,’” Griner testified, via The Washington Post.

Griner also claims officials forced her to sign papers she did not understand and did not have access to a lawyer upon her arrest.

Earlier this month, Griner pled guilty to the charges and faces up to 10 years in prison.