While Brittney Griner's nine-year prison sentence in Russia doesn't bode well for her, the United States government has been working to bring her back. And it appears their efforts might be close to paying off.
A prisoner swap for Griner as well as imprisoned American Paul Whelan has been on the table for months. Per the Associated Press, Russia is more open to the idea now than they previously were.
Speaking to reporters this week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the government is "ready to discuss" a prisoner swap for Griner and Whelan. But he made it clear that "public diplomacy" and "loud statements" will not help their cause.
“If the Americans again try to engage in public diplomacy and make loud statements about their intention to take certain steps, it’s their business, I would even say their problem,” Lavrov said. “The Americans often have trouble observing agreements on calm and professional work.”
Brittney Griner has been held in Russia for over half a year on drug charges. She pleaded guilty last month and was sentenced to nine years in prison this week.
Paul Whelan, a former U.S. Marine, was arrested in 2018 and convicted on espionage charges.
There seems to be a glimmer of hope that Griner and Whelan can be brought home though.