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Russian Diplomat Has Encouraging Brittney Griner Update

Brittney Griner walks into court out of prison in Russia.

US Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) basketball player Brittney Griner, who was detained at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport and later charged with illegal possession of cannabis, leaves the courtroom after the court's verdict in Khimki outside Moscow, on August 4, 2022. - A Russian court found Griner guilty of smuggling and storing narcotics after prosecutors requested a sentence of nine and a half years in jail for the athlete. (Photo by Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP) (Photo by KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP via Getty Images)

It has been well documented that a prisoner swap is Brittney Griner's path back to the United States. On Tuesday, a senior diplomat for Russia provided an update on that scenario.  

Sergei Ryabkov, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister, said "there always is a chance" when asked if a prisoner swap involving Griner could come to fruition before the end of the year.

That's promising news for Griner, who has been in Russia since February. However, there's no guarantee a deal will get done. 

"Regrettably, there have been a few occasions when it seemed that a decision in favor of it was about to be made, but it never happened," Ryabkov said

Ryabkov added, "If that happened, it would undoubtedly send a positive signal that not everything is so utterly hopeless in Russian-U.S. relations."  

President Joe Biden has said he wants Russian President Vladimir Putin to be "more willing" to discuss a prisoner exchange involving Griner. There's a lot of pressure on him to bring the WNBA star back home.

Earlier this month, Griner was transferred to a Russian penal colony in Mordovia.