U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the Biden administration made an offer to Moscow, Russia "weeks ago" to secure the release of detained WNBA star Brittney Griner and another American.
Blinken said the U.S. offered a "substantial proposal" to Russia "weeks ago" for the release of Griner and former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan.
Whelan was arrested in Russia on December 28, 2018, and accused of spying.
"We put a substantial proposal on the table weeks ago to facilitate their release," Blinken told reporters during a press briefing at the U.S. State Department on Tuesday.
"In the coming days, I expect to speak with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov for the first time since the [Ukraine] war began," Blinken said. "I plan to raise an issue that's a top priority for us: the release of Americans Paul Whelan and Brittney Griner, who have been wrongfully detained and must be allowed to come home. We put a substantial proposal on the table weeks ago to facilitate their release. Our governments have communicated repeatedly and directly on that proposal."
Meanwhile, Russian officials paraded Griner in front of the cameras on day 6 of her drug trial on Tuesday.
US basketball star Brittney Griner testifies in her drug trial in Russia that an interpreter only told her a FRACTION of what was said during her questioning after her arrest
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She testified in her own defense for the first time in open court. Griner complained that a Russian translator didn't explain everything to her during her arrest at a Moscow airport on February 17.
Griner was detained after vape cartridges containing cannabis oil were discovered in her luggage.
Griner said an interpreter translated a small portion of what was said during her questioning at the airport.
She said officials instructed her to sign documents without providing an explanation of what she was signing on February 17.
Griner said she was aware of a state department advisory warning Americans not to travel to Russia or Ukraine. But she said she wanted to help her Russian basketball team win another championship.
She previously pled guilty to carrying illegal drugs into the country, but she said she was rushing to pack and didn't realize the drugs were in her luggage.