Blinken says U.S. nonetheless – The Alike


Washington — Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated Sunday that the United States is “actively engaged” with Russia over a potential prisoner swap to free Americans Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan, who’re in Russian custody.

“The proof will be in the pudding,” Blinken stated in an interview with “Face the Nation,” when requested whether or not the Russians are severe about negotiations to launch Griner and Whelan. “We have to see if the engagements that we’ve had, the discussions that we have, produced an actual result. That’s the most important thing, but we are not resting on the laurels of having put forward a proposal some months ago. We’ve been actively engaged over these many months to try to move things forward.”

Blinken introduced in July that the U.S. put ahead a “substantial proposal” to Russia geared toward securing the discharge of Griner, a WNBA star, and Whelan, a retired U.S. Marine. Russian media has speculated {that a} potential alternate would contain Viktor Bout, a Russian arms supplier serving a 25-year jail sentence within the U.S. for conspiring to promote weapons to individuals who meant to kill Americans.

Griner has been in Russian custody following her arrest at a Moscow airport in February and conviction for possession of a small amount of hashish oil. She was sentenced to 9 years in jail and transferred final month to a “remote” penal colony. 

Whelan has been detained in Russia since December 2018, when he visited the nation for a good friend’s wedding ceremony. He was convicted by a Russian courtroom of espionage fees and sentenced in 2020 to 16 years in jail.

A prime Russian diplomat instructed final month to reporters in Moscow that the possibility of a prisoner alternate was rising, and acknowledged Bout had been supplied in a potential swap, in response to Russian media. But the State Department swiftly dismissed the optimism from Russia. Vedant Patel, a division spokesman, advised reporters Russia has “consistently failed to negotiate in good faith,” and the Kremlin’s “failure to seriously negotiate on these issues in the established channel, or any other channel for that matter, runs counter to its public statements.” 

Still, Blinken stated Sunday that since providing the “significant proposal” months in the past, the Biden administration has been engaged “on a regular basis,” and stated the U.S. “will not stop” till the Americans are introduced dwelling.

“We’ve been engaged repeatedly, in any way that we can, to try to advance it and to look to see if there are different permutations that could achieve what we’re trying to achieve, which is to get our people home,” he stated.

The secretary of state declined to offer particulars of a possible jail swap or talks with the Russians, however reiterated the Biden administration’s dedication to liberating Griner and Whelan.

“My efforts, the efforts of the entire administration are to bring both Paul and Brittney home,” Blinken stated.

Russian media has reported that Moscow needs a one-to-one prisoner swap, although Blinken once more declined to offer particulars of any discussions between the U.S. and Russia. Instead, he famous that any settlement to the discharge of Griner and Whelan requires Russia’s cooperation.

[T]he different aspect will get a vote on this. It’s not simply what we wish. It’s what they’re ready to do,” he said. “And that is one thing that we’re engaged on virtually on daily basis.”


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