Russia’s Foreign Ministry said Thursday that no concrete result has been achieved in U.S.-Russian prisoner exchange negotiations after Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the United States made a “substantial proposal” to Moscow for the release of WNBA star Brittney Griner and security consultant Paul Whelan.
The U.N. aid chief, Martin Griffiths, said that Ukrainian grain shipments in the Black Sea could resume by Friday but that details were being arranged, Reuters reported.
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The Biden administration is talking publicly about a potential prisoner swap in hope of making progress in negotiations, The Post reported Thursday.
U.S. officials say they have tried for weeks to broker the releases of Griner and Whelan. But the lack of progress, and the prospect of Griner soon facing conviction and sentencing on drug charges, prompted the administration this week to make the negotiations public.
Blinken on Wednesday told reporters that he had requested a phone call with his Russian counterpart, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, and that the United States had made a significant proposal to Russia as part of its efforts to free the Americans. Blinken said the United States had offered Russia the deal weeks ago.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Thursday that diplomatic silence typically surrounds negotiations regarding prisoner releases. Announcements are usually made “about agreements that have been completed,” Peskov said, and no agreements have been finalized.
The Russian government acknowledged Thursday that it had received Blinken’s request, but the media service Interfax reported that Lavrov would respond “when his own schedule allows.”