August 16, 2022

The Kremlin said Friday it was ready to discuss a prisoner exchange with the United States, a day after WNBA star Britney Grenier was found guilty of drug trafficking and sentenced to nine years in a Russian prison.

“There is a private channel that has been agreed upon by the presidents, and no matter what anyone says publicly, this channel remains relevant,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters in Cambodia. State news agency RIA Novosti.

Lavrov added: “If the Americans decide to resort to public diplomacy again and issue loud statements, and statements that they will now take such steps, then this is their business, and their problem,” according to the report.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s chief diplomat made the remarks at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken told reporters at the same event on Friday that the United States would continue discussions with Russia.

“We have made, you know, a substantive suggestion that Russia should engage with us. And what Foreign Minister Lavrov said this morning and said publicly is that they are ready to engage through the channels that we have created to do that,” Blinken said, CNN reported.

Last week, the Biden administration proposed a prisoner exchange, offering convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout to Greiner and former US Marine Paul Whelan.

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