Russia insist that they are ready to negotiate a Griner, Whelan prisoner swap with United States

Russia are insisting that they are ready to negotiate with the United States about a prisoner swap for ex-marine Paul Whelan and WNBA star Brittney Griner.

Both remain locked up in Russia, though there is hope that they will be returned to the United States.

“We have said so many times that we’re ready to negotiate,” foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said on Telegram.

“If the US embassy in Moscow has a minute of free time, they’ll tell president Joe Biden and he, in turn, will tell the families of Whelan and Griner.”

Zakharova continued and accused the US of “media madness” rather than “fulfilling their direct official duties of maintaining contact with the diplomats of the host country”.

On Friday, Biden welcomed Brittney‘s wife Cherelle Griner and Paul‘s sister Elizabeth Whelan for two separate meetings at hi presidential residence.

Hours earlier, it had been said that the US were still waiting for Russia to respond.

But Cherelle Griner said that they were unable to receive a clear explanation from Biden about Russia’s demands.

Detained since February

WNBA star Griner has been detained in Russia since her February arrest, and was sentenced to nine years in prison on August 4.

Whelan was arrested in December 2018 and sentenced to 16 years in prison for espionage.

Sergei Lavrov and Victor Bout have been offered in exchange by the US.