Russia ready to discuss prisoner swap with US PHOTO/Reuters
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow was “ready to discuss this topic,” but only within the framework of the diplomatic channel he said President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed in advance.
Baca: White House urges Russia to accept prisoner swap proposal
“There is a special channel that has been approved by the president, and no matter what people say in public, this channel remains relevant,” he said at a press conference at a meeting with ASEAN representatives, as quoted by CNBC.
Lavrov warned the US against engaging in “public diplomacy” and made “strong announcements” on the issue, suggesting it could jeopardize high-risk efforts to secure exchanges.
“If America decides to use public diplomacy again and make loud announcements, this is their business, their problem,” Lavrov continued.
Meanwhile, US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the US had made a “serious proposal” for a prisoner swap and urged Russia to “accept it.”
Baca: US Offers Prisoner Swap to Russia
“They should have received it a few weeks ago, when we first made it,” Kirby said. Asked if Washington considered it a counteroffer from Russia, he said: “I don’t think we’re going that far, even calling it a counteroffer.”
Biden said Friday he was “hopeful” about Griner. “We’re working hard,” he told reporters at the White House after signing the bill. According to Biden, his administration will work tirelessly and pursue every possible avenue to bring home Griner and Paul Whelan, who is serving a 16-year sentence for espionage.