Veteran emissary Richardson hopeful for Griner, Whelan swap
Bill Richardson, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and a frequent emissary in hostage negotiations, says he's hopeful about the chances of a two-for-two prisoner swap that could result in the release of WNBA star Brittney Griner and another jailed American, Paul Whelan.
Trump calls detained WNBA star Brittney Griner a 'potentially spoiled person' while criticizing proposed prisoner swap for Russian arms dealer
"She knew you don't go in there loaded up with drugs, and she admitted it. I assume she admitted it without too much force," Trump said of Griner.news.yahoo.com
Who is Viktor Bout? Infamous arms dealer may be in a Russian prisoner swap for Brittney Griner, Paul Whelan
(Photo by U.S. Department of Justice via Getty Images)According to press reports, the U.S. government is prepared to swap notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout for Paul Whelan and Brittney Griner, two Americans currently jailed in Russia. "The Russian security services watched Griner closely and knew they could compromise her," a former U.S. intelligence officer told Yahoo News. Even Bout's aliases — "Viktor Budd," "Viktor Butt" and, simply, "Boris" — might have stretched the credulity for a Bond villain. The text of the resolution cites not only Russian military atrocities against civilians in Chechnya, Georgia, Syria and Ukraine, but also names the Wagner Group, a notorious mercenary outfit. "They will try to lock me up for life," the then-45-year-old Bout told the New Yorker before his sentencing.wftv.com
Blinken says he spoke to Russia FM about detained Americans
US Japan Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during the U.S.-Japan Economic Policy Consultative Committee (EPCC) at the State Department in Washington, Friday, July 29, 2022. (Tom Brenner/Pool Photo via AP) (Tom Brenner)WASHINGTON — (AP) — Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he spoke to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov by phone on Friday and urged Moscow to accept a U.S. offer to release two Americans detained in Russia. Blinken did not provide details of Lavrov’s response to what he had previously called a “substantial proposal" for Russia to release the two U.S. citizens: Paul Whelan and Brittany Griner. Blinken had publicly requested the call and revealed the existence of the offer to Russia — which people familiar with it say involves a swap for Whelan and Griner with convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.wftv.com
Experts say U.S.’s ‘substantial proposal’ may not be enough to bring Brittney Griner home
Brittney Griner WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner stands in a cage at a court room prior to a hearing, in Khimki just outside Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, July 26, 2022. American basketball star Brittney Griner has returned to a Russian courtroom for her drawn-out trial on drug charges that could bring her 10 years in prison if convicted. In early May, the State Department classified Griner as wrongfully detained without explanation and began working to negotiate her release. Blinken’s public acknowledgement of an offer for Griner and Whelan reflects the mounting pressure on the administration to get both home. Russian state media has repeatedly floated potential prisoner trades for Bouts while he is serving a 25-year sentence in Illinois.wftv.com
Blinken says he’ll talk to Russian foreign minister about Griner and Whelan
During a press conference on Wednesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he intends to speak with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, for the first time since the country invaded Ukraine in February, about an offer to release detained Americans Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan.news.yahoo.com
U.S. has offered 'substantial proposal' to Russia in exchange for Brittney Griner, Paul Whelan
The Biden administration has “put a substantial proposal on the table” aimed at bringing Brittney Griner and fellow jailed American Paul Whelan home from Russia, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday. A plan to trade Bout for Whelan and Griner has received the backing of President Biden, CNN reported on Wednesday. Bout has acknowledged graduating from the prestigious Military Institute of Foreign Languages, then working in Africa in the late 1980s as a Soviet military translator. The military language school was known as a training ground for the Soviet foreign military intelligence directorate known as the GRU. “He sat at the center of a whole network of Russian arms deals that all trace back to Putin.wftv.com
In rare contact, US offers Russia deal for Griner, Whelan
The U.S. has offered a deal to Russia aimed at bringing home WNBA star Brittney Griner and another jailed American, Paul Whelan, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday. In a sharp reversal of previous policy, Blinken also said he expects to speak with his Kremlin counterpart for the first time since before Russia invaded Ukraine. The statement marked the first time the U.S. government has publicly revealed any concrete action it has taken to secure the release of Griner, who was arrested on drug-related charges at a Moscow airport in February and testified Wednesday at her trial.news.yahoo.com
WNBA's Griner tells drug trial: 'My career is my whole life'
WNBA star Brittney Griner testified at her drug possession trial in Russia that an interpreter translated only a fraction of what was said during questioning when she was detained at Moscow’s airport in February and officials told her to sign documents without giving an explanation.
WNBA's Griner gets support at trial from character witnesses
The drug possession trial of WNBA star Brittney Griner has resumed, with the head of the Russian club she plays for in the offseason and a teammate from that squad testifying in support of her character and what she has meant for women’s basketball in the country.
Reviled and revered Russian arms dealer is back in spotlight
Russia Arms Dealer FILE - Viktor Bout, center, is led by armed Thai police commandoes as he arrives at the criminal court in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2010. The Russian arms dealer who once inspired a Hollywood movie is back in the headlines with speculation around a return to Moscow in a prisoner exchange for U.S. WBNA star Brittney Griner and former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan. (AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong, File) (Apichart Weerawong)MOSCOW — (AP) — A Russian arms dealer labeled the "Merchant of Death" who once inspired a Hollywood movie is back in the headlines with speculation around a return to Moscow in a prisoner exchange. Scheindlin said Griner was arrested for something that “wouldn't be five minutes in jail.”That sentiment is shared by others. The deliveries occurred despite United Nations sanctions imposed against Bout since 2001 because of his reputation as a notorious illegal arms dealer.wftv.com
UAE dismantles plane of gunrunner Russia wants for Americans
UMM AL-QUWAIN, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The hulking, Soviet-era cargo plane has sat for decades under the blazing sun in a remote corner of the United Arab Emirates, its four jet engines silent after years in the employ of a Russian gunrunner known as the “Merchant of Death.” The emirate of Umm al-Quwain plans a $675 million development on a island just across a lagoon from the deactivated airport where Bout's plane sits.news.yahoo.com