Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke to Cherelle Griner on Saturday as her spouse, WNBA participant Brittney Griner, stays detained in Russia.
The State Division has made the basketball star’s launch its high precedence, Blinken advised Cherelle Griner, assuring her that the division is working on the case nonstop and that she ought to attain out if she’s not receiving the knowledge she wants.
On Tuesday, Cherelle Griner posted a black-and-white video on Instagram from considered one of her spouse’s video games, with a caption saying, “Sport Day!” The video reveals Brittney Griner jogging off the basketball court docket to present her spouse a kiss.
Blinken’s dialog with Cherelle Griner got here only a day after a Russian court docket dominated to extend Brittney Griner’s pretrial detention until at least June. A consular officer from the State Division was in a position to converse to the WNBA participant on the sidelines of her Friday listening to, in keeping with division spokesperson Ned Value.
On Monday, nonetheless, U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan mentioned that the nation had denied the U.S. Embassy permission to go to Brittney Griner for the third time in a month.
“That is unacceptable. We name on @mfa_russia to offer well timed consular entry, in keeping with Russia’s intl & bilateral obligations,” Sullivan mentioned in a tweet posted by the embassy.
Russian authorities arrested the basketball participant in February on drug smuggling expenses after she was allegedly discovered carrying cannabis-derived vape cartridges in her baggage in Moscow. The 2-time Olympic gold medalist has performed for a Russian basketball team for years during the WNBA off-season.
Value mentioned final week that Griner is “doing in addition to could be anticipated beneath what can solely be described as exceedingly troublesome circumstances,” and mentioned the State Division is “working very intently” on her case along with fellow detained American Paul Whelan. Trevor Reed, an American who was additionally detained in Russia, was launched final month in a prisoner swap.
“Our message throughout the board for Individuals who’re detained in Russia is that we anticipate, in step with the Vienna Conference, to have common and constant entry to Individuals who’re detained, together with these Individuals who’re in pretrial detention,” Value mentioned.