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US submits offer to Russia for release of Americans Whelan, Griner

Brittney Griner
Posted at 11:49 AM, Jul 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-27 14:53:08-04

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday that he plans to talk to his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov about the release of Americans Paul Whelan and Brittney Griner.

Blinken said the US has made a "substantial proposal" in hopes of bringing home the two Americans detained in Russia.

Griner, a WNBA all-star, was in court on Wednesday as her drug trial continued. She has remained detained in Russian custody since February.

Whelan has been held by Russia since 2018 and was sentenced in 2020 to 16 years for spying.

Blinken said his upcoming conversation with Lavrov will mark the first time since the start of the war that he has talked to the Russian foreign minister.

The US considers Whelan and Griner “wrongfully detained” and that they “must be allowed to come home.”

“We put a substantial proposal on the table weeks ago to facilitate their release,” Blinken said. “Our governments have communicated repeatedly and directly on that proposal and I will use that conversation to follow up personally and I hope move us toward a resolution.”