U.S. embassy officials revisited her this week after the detention of U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner sparked fears of her being used as a political pawn during Russia’s Ukraine war.
White House press secretary Karin Jean-Pierre told reporters on Thursday: “We were told that she was doing as well as expected under the circumstances.”
Griner was detained in February and sentenced to nine years in prison in August for drug smuggling. A Moscow court rejected her appeal at a hearing in October. 25.
Here’s what we know about the efforts to get Griner out of detention:
The United States offers prisoner exchanges: Jean-Pierre reiterated on Thursday that “the U.S. government has made a major offer to the Russians to address the current unacceptable and unjustified actions against Griner and another American detained by Russia, Paul Whelan.” detention”.
National Security Adviser Jack Sullivan said in a statement last month that U.S. officials had proposed a prisoner swap with Moscow, efforts that have continued in recent weeks despite the lack of apparent progress.
“We didn’t get a lot of positive responses, but we’re not going to stop,” U.S. President Joe Biden told reporters in October.
A senior Biden administration official who spoke to CNN that month said Russia has yet to offer a serious counter-offer, but “they’re not unresponsive.”
“They continue to respond with things they know are not feasible or available,” the official said.
Unofficial means of communication: Former Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico — whose namesake center works for the families of hostages and detainees — recently traveled to Russia to discuss the possibility of releasing Greener and Whelan.
In early October, he told CNN he was “cautiously optimistic” that the two Americans could be released before the end of the year.
Richardson, who served as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under former President Bill Clinton, said he was working with their families and coordinating with the White House to help with their release. The former governor was instrumental in freeing Trevor Reed, a U.S. military veteran who was detained in Russia for three years before being released in April .
The White House has previously distanced itself from Richardson’s efforts.