Prisoner swap appears to be WNBA star Brittney Griner’s best chance at getting out of Russian prison.
What will it take to get Brittney Griner home?
Now that WNBA star Brittney Griner has been convicted of drug possession and sentenced to nine years in prison, attention turns to the prospect of a prisoner swap between the United States and Russia that could get her home.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken went public with that possibility last week, revealing in an unusual announcement that the US had made a “substantial proposal” aimed at securing the release of Griner and another jailed American, Paul Whelan.
With her court case concluded and her sentence pronounced, such a deal — assuming one can be reached with the Russians — is Griner’s best chance of being freed early.
While the guilty verdict was seen as a foregone conclusion, the imposition of a sentence her lawyers decried as far longer than average could give the US extra impetus to strike a deal palatable to Russia as soon as possible. And the formal end of the court case could be the opening both sides need to forge a diplomatic resolution, too.