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President Joe Biden will meet at the White House on Friday with the families of WNBA star Brittany Griner and former US Marine Paul Whelan, both jailed in Russia, officials said. The Associated Press And CNNAfter months of unsuccessful talks with Russia, which reportedly included a proposed prisoner swap.

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According to the AP and CNN, the two separate meetings will be Biden’s first personal conversations with family members of Whelan and Griner.

Griner was arrested in Russia in February for drug possession and sentenced to 9 years in prison last month, while Whelan was sentenced to 16 years in prison in 2020 for espionage – which he denies .

Biden administration officials told the AP on Thursday that serious talks have resumed despite the Kremlin reportedly being Condemnation The previous White House proposes as “megaphone diplomacy”.

Forbes It was first reported in May that the US had offered to exchange Griner for convicted arms dealer Victor Bout, who is serving a 25-year sentence beginning in 2011.

The meetings come more than two months after Biden spoke on the phone with Griner’s wife, Cherrell Grinerand said she was committed to providing support to her family—Cherrell criticized Biden in an interview CBS MorningHe did not respond soon after, saying that he wrote her a letter to bring home to his wife.

Last month, Biden said in a Statement His administration would “pursue every possible way” to bring Griner and Whelan home “as quickly as possible”, although his administration avoided outside help from a former UN ambassador and hostage negotiator. bill richardson On Wednesday, private citizens should not be in Moscow or negotiate for the US government.

main background

Griner was taken into custody on February 17 for allegedly carrying vaporizer cartridges with cannabis oil in his luggage. Griner, who played basketball in Russia during the WNBA off-season, wrote a Letter writing to Biden in July, "I'm afraid I may stay here forever," and told him "please do everything you can to get us home." In July, she testified that her rights had not been read to her when Russian authorities detained her in February. He was sentenced on August 4 by a Russian court for drug possession and trafficking, and ordered to pay a fine of one million rubles ($16,771) - a decision Biden called "unacceptable." Griner's lawyers appealed the conviction two weeks later, a process that could take up to three months, the lawyers told new York Times, Efforts to bring him back to the prisoner swap have so far been unsuccessful, with the following reports Russia wanted the US to return Vadim Kasykov, a former colonel in Russia's spy agency who is in custody in Germany on charges of 2019 murder, in addition to bout- White House official John Kirby Slammed This is meant as a "bad faith attempt".

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The meetings come a week after Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced a $2 billion military aid package for Ukraine, bringing US military spending for Ukraine to $15.2 billion since Russia's invasion in February. state Department,

Will Griner be free from prisoner trade with 'Mutt Ke Saudagar'? The lawyer claims that this is what Moscow wants. (Forbes)

Brittany Griner involved in possible prisoner swap with Russia (Forbes)

Brittany Griner appeals for drug possession in Russia (Forbes)

Griner, Whelan family to meet Biden amid US-Russia talks (The Associated Press)

Brittany Griner testifies about the treatment of Russian authorities during initial detention (Forbes)