President Biden blasted Russia for sentencing Brittney Griner to 9 years in a penal colony for cannabis possession and smuggling, calling the decision “unacceptable.”
“Today, American citizen Brittney Griner received a prison sentence that is one more reminder of what the world already knew: Russia is wrongfully detaining Brittney,” Biden said in a statement released by the White House.
“It’s unacceptable, and I call on Russia to release her immediately so she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends, and teammates,” he continued.
“My administration will continue to work tirelessly and pursue every possible avenue to bring Brittney and Paul Whelan home safely as soon as possible.”
The president’s promise comes just one week after reports revealed the Biden administration pitched trading notorious arms dealer Viktor Bout, known as the “Merchant of Death,” for Griner and former Marine Paul Whelan.
In April, the US successfully conducted a prisoner exchange with Russia, swapping former Marine Trevor Reed for Russia pilot and “international drug trafficker” Konstantin Yaroshenko.
Reed has since accused the White House of “not doing enough” to bring Whelan and Griner home.