U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken shared that a “substantial proposal” has been made by the United States to free women’s basketball star Brittney Griner but has not yet been accepted by the Russian government, reports the Wall Street Journal. The proposal also called for the release of another American, Paul Whelan, a former US marine. Whelan was sentenced to 16 years on espionage charges in 2020 to be served in a Russian prison.
The offer comes after a variance of commentary regarding what more the United States could be doing to proactively assist and free Griner from Russian custody. Politicians and Griner's fellow athletes have spoken out in support of her freedom and the injustice she is facing.
In June, Russia extended Brittney Griner’s detention for an 18 additional days.
Previously, Griner wrote a letter to President Joe Biden, by hand, expressing concerns about her detainment. “I’m terrified I might be here forever,” Griner wrote. “On the 4th of July, our family normally honors the service of those who fought for our freedom, including my father who is a Vietnam War Veteran. It hurts thinking about how I usually celebrate this day because freedom means something completely different to me this year.”
Griner's detainment is a result of her allegedly having vape cartridges that contained hashish oil while at Sheremetyevo International Airport in Russia. Hashish oil is an illegal substance in Russia.