Brittney Griner

The Russian government denied Brittney Griner’s appeal for freedom in October. Griner previously plead guilty to attempting to smuggle a small amount of hashish oil aboard a domestic flight with her Russian Premier League team in October.

The Russians sentenced Griner to nine years in prison, which is to be served in a maximum-security penal colony 200 miles west of Moscow.

Earlier this week, Segei Ryabkov, the Russian deputy foreign minister, said there was new “activity” around a potential prisoner exchange between Russia and the United States involving Griner and Viktor Bout, a convicted arms dealer serving 25 years in an American prison.

The United States, however, was quick to shoot down the surprising Russian claims.

“We are not going to comment on the specifics of any proposals other than to say that we have made a substantial offer that the Russian Federation has consistently failed to negotiate in good faith,” a release from the State Department said, according to ESPN. “The U.S. Government has continued to follow up on that offer and propose alternative potential ways forward with the Russian government. The Russian government’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.”

American president Joe Biden, his political party fresh of a surprising performance in the midterm elections, renewed his commitment to free Griner earlier this week.

[ESPN]