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A Russian diplomat criticizes Biden ‘hype’ over Brittney Griner as the W.N.B.A. star’s trial resumes.


A high Russian diplomat lashed out at the Biden administration on Thursday for attempting to “foment hype” round the case of the detained American basketball star Brittney Griner, hours earlier than her trial was anticipated to renew in a court docket close to Moscow.

The diplomat, Sergei A. Ryabkov, the deputy overseas minister, mentioned that the publicity round Ms. Griner’s case — American officers say she is actually a hostage taken by President Vladimir V. Putin amid the conflict in Ukraine — was not serving to her pursuits.

Mr. Ryabkov indicated that Moscow could be ready to barter her destiny, however solely after the court docket reached a verdict on the drug costs that had been introduced towards her. She has been detained in Russia since Feb. 17, accused by the Russian authorities of getting a vape cartridge with cannabis oil in her baggage at an airport close to Moscow.

“We have a long-established form of discussing these matters,” Mr. Ryabkov informed reporters on Thursday in Moscow, in line with the Interfax information company. “The American side’s attempts to foment hype and make noise in the public environment are understandable, but they don’t help to practically resolve issues.”

If Ms. Griner is convicted, she faces as much as 10 years in a Russian penal colony.

After her trial began last week, she sent a handwritten letter to Mr. Biden asking him to not “forget about” her and different American detainees abroad.

Mr. Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris spoke on Wednesday with Ms. Griner’s spouse, Cherelle Griner, according to a statement launched by the White House.

During the name, the assertion mentioned, the president learn a draft of a letter that he deliberate to ship to Brittney Griner. He additionally mentioned that his administration was pursuing “every avenue to bring Brittney home.”

Cherelle Griner has publicly expressed frustration with Mr. Biden and his administration’s efforts to safe her spouse’s launch.

In a press release to The New York Times on Wednesday, Cherelle Griner mentioned she was grateful to Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris “for the time they spent with me and for the commitment they expressed to getting B.G. home.”

The United States authorities has labeled Brittney Griner as “wrongfully detained” and is working to safe her launch no matter the final result of the trial. While the Kremlin claims it has no involvement in Ms. Griner’s case, Russian state media stories have indicated that Moscow might press the United States to free a Russian in American custody — like the convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout — in alternate for her freedom.

Mr. Ryabkov mentioned that till the conclusion of Ms. Griner’s case, “there are no formal procedural grounds” to debate additional steps. He hinted, nevertheless, that Moscow was thinking about negotiating over her destiny, claiming that she could be helped by “a serious reading by the American side of the signals that they received from Russia, from Moscow, through specialized channels.”

He didn’t specify what these indicators had been, however insisted that talks on Ms. Griner’s destiny ought to happen out of the public eye, in line with Russian information stories.

“Hype and publicity, for all the love for this genre among modern politicians, only gets in the way in this particular instance,” Mr. Ryabkov mentioned, in line with the RIA Novosti information company. “This does not just distract from the case, but creates interference in the truest sense of the word. That’s why silence is needed here.”

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