Biden Condemns Plan To Free Brittney Griner
The Biden administration has been trying to discourage former NBA player Dennis Rodman from traveling to Russia. The NBA player has previously said that he would try to visit the country to help free basketball star Brittney Griner. However, the Biden administration warned against such a move as they worried it could lead to complications in Griner being released from a Russian prison.
According to the State Department, they have put through a proposal seeking to free Paul Whelan and Brittney Griner. The State Department has also warned that all communications should take place through the appropriate channels.
Rodman, however, had previously maintained that if he was to travel to Russia he would not do so on behalf of U.S. government. He also noted that he is aware that the U.S. government has warned against traveling to Russia for all American citizens as it can often lead to wrongful detention and imprisonment.
Rodman, in an interview with NBC News, initially reiterated his plans to go to Russia and try to free Griner who was detained on drug charges in February. She is now facing a sentence of nine years in prison. Rodman also said that he has gotten permission to travel and was planning on going to Russia this week. He has since, however, announced he is no longer planning to go.
The White House National Security Council has at this time not made any comments regarding this.
Griner did plead guilty to the drug charges, saying that she was not meaning to pack vape canisters with cannabis oil. The U.S. has declared that this was a wrongful detainment.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken has spoken about the proposed deal sent to Moscow which is aiming to help both Griner and Whelan, a former Marine who is imprisoned under the charges of espionage.
The Biden administration is looking to trade Griner and Whelan for Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer who is currently detained in the U.S.