President Joe Biden has offered to release a convicted Russian arms dealer in exchange for the return of Americans Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan.
More than five months after the 31-year-old star was seized at a Moscow airport and held on charges on possessing cannabis, the Biden administration has offered to return to Russia Victor Bout, a convicted Russian arms trafficker serving a 25-year US prison sentence.
In what would represent a sharp reversal of previous policy, Secretary of State Antony Blinken also said he expected to speak with his Kremlin counterpart for the first time since before Russia invaded Ukraine.
“I don’t want to characterise it,” Mr Blinken said, speaking at the State Department, when asked about the details of the US’s contact with Russia.
“My interest, my focus is on making sure that to the best of our ability we get to get to “yes”. We are very focused on getting Brittney and Paul home. “
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