Moscow claims it is prepared to negotiate the fate of American prisoners in Russia, but has accused the US of engaging in “media madness” soon after President Joe Biden individually fulfilled with the households of two American detainees very last 7 days.
Biden held independent meetings with the family members of expert basketballer Brittney Griner and ex-marine Paul Whelan at the White Home on Friday, marking the first time he personally convened them considering the fact that the two ended up detained.
“Instead of fulfilling its immediate official duties — protecting contacts with the diplomats of the host region — the US Embassy in Moscow is engaged in some kind of media madness,” Russian International Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova explained in a statement on Telegram on Monday, pointing to video clips and “amusing photographs” posted by the US embassy in Moscow, as nicely as Biden’s assembly.
“Kin had been unable to get a distinct rationalization from the President of the United States about Russia’s calls for for a prisoner trade,” she said, introducing that she figured out of the facts of the conference as a result of a CNN report citing Cherelle Griner, Brittney’s wife.
She additional that she would have to flip to Whelan and Griner’s kin herself.
“We have said many times that we are ready for negotiations to solve the destiny of convicted US citizens in Russia and Russian citizens convicted in the United States.”
“If the US Embassy in Moscow has a minute of free of charge time they will notify President Biden about it, and he, in convert, will explain to the kinfolk of Whelan and Griner,” Zakharova stated.
Subsequent Griner’s sentencing in August, the US and Russia indicated they were being ready to hold talks around a prisoner swap.
Griner was detained in February, accused of carrying vape cartridges made up of cannabis oil in her luggage. The two-time US Olympic basketball gold medalist pleaded guilty to drug fees and said she accidentally packed the medication when in a hurry. She has been sentenced to 9 a long time, along with a great of all around $16,400. Her legal staff in Russia has appealed the sentence.
Whelan has been imprisoned in Russia for extra than a few many years after becoming convicted on espionage fees that he denies. He was sentenced in June 2020 to 16 several years in prison in a trial US officials denounced as unfair.
In the meetings, Biden reiterated “his continued commitment to doing the job by means of all accessible avenues to deliver Brittney and Paul property securely,” White Household press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre reported in a statement on Friday. “The President appreciated the option to master more about Brittney and Paul from individuals who adore them most, and acknowledged that every minute they are currently being held is a minute way too very long.”