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Brittney Griner prisoner trade negotiations with Russia get major twist

Brittney Griner, Paul Whelan, Joe Biden, Viktor Bout

The United States government has been doing everything it can of late to facilitate the release of WNBA star Brittney Griner. The 31-year-old has been detained in Russia for nearly five months now over allegedly false drug charges, and despite the government’s effort, there appears to be minimal progress with regard to her release.

Confirming previous reports, it was revealed on Wednesday that the Biden administration had officially offered a prisoner swap involving Griner and US citizen Paul Whelan, who himself has been detained in Russia since 2018 over espionage charges. In exchange, the US government has offered to release notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor “Merchant of Death” Bout.

In a shocking new twist, the Russian government has now reportedly upped their asking price for Griner and Whelan. According to Natasha Bertrand and Frederik Pleitgen of CNN, Russia is now demanding that another prisoner be included in the proposed swap deal:

Russian government officials requested that a former colonel from the country’s domestic spy agency who was convicted of murder in Germany last year be added to the US’ proposed swap of a notorious arms dealer for Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan, multiple sources familiar with the discussions told CNN.

The report also states that this new demand will complicate the deal given how the former colonel is currently detained in Germany. Nevertheless, the US has reportedly made an informal inquiry to Germany with regard to the possible release of the aforementioned prisoner.

It is clear that Russia understands the position they are in, and they are definitely taking advantage of the same. Unfortunately, it’s Brittney Griner who continues to suffer through all this.