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(Reuters) -Russia stated on Friday it was prepared to debate prisoner swaps with america by means of an present diplomatic channel, a day a Russian court docket sentenced basketball star Brittney Griner to 9 years in jail for a medication offence.

International Minister Sergei Lavrov stated President Vladimir Putin and his U.S. counterpart Joe Biden had beforehand agreed on a diplomatic channel that must be used to debate such issues.

“We are ready to discuss this topic, but within the framework of the channel that was agreed upon by presidents Putin and Biden,” Lavrov stated throughout a go to to Cambodia.

“If the Americans decide to once again resort to public diplomacy…, that is their business and I would even say that it is their problem.”

The Kremlin had beforehand warned america in opposition to turning to “megaphone diplomacy” within the case of Griner, saying it might solely derail efforts to safe a possible swap.

Griner’s sentence – which Biden known as “unacceptable” – might pave the best way for a prisoner swap that would come with the 31-year-old athlete and a prolific Russian arms supplier serving a 25-year jail time period in america.

The USA has already made what Secretary of State Antony Blinken known as a “substantial offer” to safe the discharge of Individuals detained in Russia, together with Griner and former Marine Paul Whelan.

‘A SERIOUS PROPOSAL’

White Home nationwide safety spokesperson John Kirby stated after Griner’s sentencing that america had made Russia a severe proposal.

“We urge them to accept it,” he stated. “They should have accepted it weeks ago when we first made it.”

Kirby didn’t present additional element on the U.S. proposal.

Washington has supplied to change Russian arms trafficker Bout for Griner and Whelan, sources aware of the scenario have instructed Reuters.

Russia had tried so as to add convicted assassin Vadim Krasikov, imprisoned in Germany, to the proposed swap, a supply aware of the proceedings additionally instructed Reuters.

Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medallist and Ladies’s Nationwide Basketball Affiliation (WNBA) star, was arrested on Feb. 17 at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo with vape cartridges containing cannabis oil in her baggage.

The USA argued she was wrongly detained and getting used as a political bargaining chip by Moscow. Russian officers dismissed the U.S. claims, saying Griner had damaged Russian regulation and must be judged accordingly.

Griner, who had been prescribed medical hashish in america to alleviate ache from continual accidents, stated she had made an sincere mistake by inadvertently packing her vape cartridges as she rushed to make her flight.

She pled responsible to the modifications in opposition to her however insisted that she didn’t intend to interrupt Russian regulation.

Hashish is unlawful in Russia for each medicinal and leisure functions.

(Reporting by Reuters; modifying by Man Faulconbridge and Mark Heinrich)

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