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Biden Offers Russia a Deal for Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan’s Release


The Biden administration has offered a deal to Russia in an effort to bring home WNBA star Brittney Griner and another jailed American, Paul Whelan, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday.

In exchange for Griner and Whelan, the US is offering Viktor Bout, a convicted Russian arms trafficker serving a 25-year US prison sentence.

Blinken did not provide further detail on the proposed deal, which was offered weeks ago, and it’s unknown whether the deal is enough for Russia to release the two Americans, according to the Associated Press.

“We communicated a substantial offer that we believe could be successful based on a history of conversations with the Russians,” a senior administration official told CNN Wednesday. “We communicated that a number of weeks ago, in June.”

The official followed up by saying the deal was in Russia’s “court to be responsive to it, yet at the same time that does not leave us passive, as we continue to communicate the offer at very senior levels.”

“It takes two to tango. We start all negotiations to bring home Americans held hostage or wrongfully detained with a bad actor on the other side. We start all of these with somebody who has taken a human being American and treated them as a bargaining chip,” the official said. “So in some ways, it’s not surprising, even if it’s disheartening, when those same actors don’t necessarily respond directly to our offers, don’t engage constructively in negotiations.”




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