Biden administration officials say Britney Griner, the WNBA star who has been detained for months in a Russian jail has the president’s “fullest attention,” as the government tries to figure out a way to get her released.
Griner, 31, has been detained in Russia since February on accusations of smuggling cartridges containing hashish.On Monday (June 27), her detention was extended for six months, pending the outcome of a trial scheduled to start on Friday.
“It has the fullest attention of the president and every senior member of his national security and diplomatic team, and we are actively working to find a resolution to this case and will continue to do so without rest until we get Brittney safely home,” White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters on Tuesday (June 28) aboard Air Force One, according to The Hill.
The Hill reports Griner made an appearance in a Russian court and was ordered to stand trial on cannabis possession charges following her arrest more than four months ago. She faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
Sullivan also noted on Tuesday that he and Secretary of State Antony Blinken have spoken with Griner’s wife, Cherelle Griner, in the last few days to “convey our very deep sympathy, convey that we just can’t even begin to imagine what the family must be going through, what Brittney must be going through.”
Cherelle has previously voiced her frustration with her wife’s detainment and the fact that she hasn’t spoken with her since she was imprisoned. That was supposed to change last week when she tried to call through the U.S. Embassy in Russia for their anniversary but they were never connected.
Sullivan reiterated to reporters their previous assertion that Brittney Griner is “wrongfully” and “unjustly” detained, calling for her safe release. He would not provide an update on how Griner is doing.
The United States government is actively engaged with trying to solve this case and get Brittney home,” Sullivan added.