Russia Confirms Negotiations Are Underway For Brittney Griner Prisoner Swap

Last week a Russian judge found WNBA star and Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner guilty of drug charges and sentenced her to nine years in prison.

On Thursday, Russia confirmed that negotiations were underway between Washington D.C. and Moscow on a possible prisoner swap. The United States proposed a deal to exchange Griner and fellow American prisoner Paul Whelan for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Russia was “ready to discuss” a potential deal last week. Foreign Ministry spokesman Ivan Nechayev said Thursday that the negotiations began after Lavrov’s statement.

“Instructions were given to authorized structures to carry out negotiations,” Nechayev said per Axios. “They are being conducted by competent authorities.”