In an interview with CBS’ “Face The Nation” on Sunday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the United States and Russia are still “actively engaged” in talks for a prisoner swap to free imprisoned WNBA star Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan, a retired Marine charged with espionage.
Blinken assured that the United States remains determined to bring Griner and Whelan home months after an offer was proposed in July to release Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer convicted in the U.S. Said Blinken: “We did put a significant proposal on the table many months ago, and since then, 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. Brittney Griner. Paul Whelan. We’re engaged in that on a regular basis. And it’s my determination that we bring our people home. We will not stop until we do.”
Russian media reported that officials in Moscow are seeking a one-for-one swap; however, Blinken dodged questions about who the U.S. would choose if that were the case: “The other side gets a vote in this. It’s not just what we want. It’s what they’re prepared to do. And this is something that we’re working on almost every day.”
Blinken also said on Sunday in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper that the White House is working with Congress on legislation that would “help us get around some of the challenges” of designating Russia a State Sponsor of Terrorism.
Editorial credit: IgorGolovniov / Shutterstock.com