U.S. Department of State Gives Concerning Update About Brittney Griner’s Russian Imprisonment

by Samantha Whidden
(Photo by EVGENIA NOVOZHENINA/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Less than two weeks after Brittney Griner was moved to a Russian penal colony to start her nine-year sentence, the U.S. Department of State gives a concerning update about the athlete’s imprisonment. 

FOX News reports that despite Russia’s claims of new “activity” in negotiations to return Brittney Griner to the U.S., the U.S. Department of State reveals that Russian officials are still not seriously negotiating. It was also reported that Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov stated Viktor Bout, a convicted arms dealer serving 25 years in a U.S. prison, is among those being discussed. “Obviously we are hoping for a positive result,” he shared.

But, the U.S. continues to say that Russia has consistently failed to negotiate for Brittney Griner in good faith. The U.S. Department of State issued a statement. “We are not going to comment on the specifics of any proposals other than to say that we have made a substantial offer that the Russian Federation has consistently failed to negotiate in good faith.”

It was further revealed that the U.S. government is continuing to follow up on the office. It has also proposed alternative potential ways with the Russian government. “The Russian government’s failure to seriously negotiate on these issues in the established channel,” it was noted. “Or any other channel for that matter, runs counter to its public statements.”

Brittney Griner’s family remains confident in the Biden administration. However, the athlete’s family is trying to stay level-headed about the situation. Griner has been placed at the female penal colony IK-2 in Yavas. This is in the region of Mordovia. This is also the same region as where American Paul Whelan is being held. 

The U.S. Department of State Also Issues Statement About Brittney Griner Moving to Penal Prison

ESPN also reports that the U.S. Department of State issued a statement about Brittney Griner being moved to the penal prison. 

“While we are glad her legal team was able to visit her, the fact is that the Russian Federation has still failed to provide any official notification of such a move,” a State Department spokesperson shared in the statement. “We continue to call on Russia to live up to their legal obligations to provide the United States timely consular access to Ms. Griner so we can provide critical consular assistance throughout her detention. That’s difficult to do when we haven’t been notified where she is.”

ESPN further reveals that one of Griner’s attorneys, Maria Blagovolina, stated that Russian officials typically notify families and attorneys about a prisoner’s location by mail. This can take about two weeks during typical circumstances.

A source says that Brittney Griner has not been in contact with her family. The athlete will most like like not be able to communicate until she clears a standard “quarantine” period.