US Embassy officials meet with detained Brittney Griner in Russia

United States Embassy officials in Moscow have met with Brittney Griner, the White House announced Thursday.

“We are told she’s doing as well as can be expected under the circumstances,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters after the State Department confirmed the meeting.

Early last week, a Russian court rejected Griner’s appeal of her nine-year prison sentence for drug possession. 

Jean-Pierre said Russia continues to refuse a ‘significant offer’ from the United States to ‘resolve the current unacceptable and wrongful detention’ of Griner and former U.S. Marine, Paul Whelan, who is also imprisoned in Russia.

Whelan is serving a 16-year prison sentence for espionage-related charges. The United States considers both Americans wrongfully detained.

“Despite a lack of good-faith negotiation by the Russians, the U.S. government has continued to follow up on that offer and propose alternative potential ways forward with Russians through all available channels,” Jean-Pierre said. “This continues to be a top priority.”

Griner, an eight-time All-Star center with the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury and a two-time Olympic gold medalist, was convicted Aug. 4 after police said they found vape canisters containing cannabis oil in her luggage at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport.

Contact Analis Bailey at aabailey@usatoday.com or on Twitter @analisbailey.

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