Amid Brittney Griner trial, Russia says prisoner swaps ‘difficult’

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(Reuters) – Russia said on Thursday that it was difficult to exchange prisoners with the United States and suggested Washington be silent about the fate of Brittney Griner, the U.S. basketball player detained in Russia on drugs charges.

Referring to a letter that U.S. President Joe Biden that NBC news reported he intends to send to Griner, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that “hype” around the case does not help, and that “this kind of correspondence does not help”.

In April, former U.S. marine Trevor Reed was released from a Russian prison, where he had been convicted of assaulting two police officers. He was freed in exchange for Konstantin Yaroshenko, a Russian pilot who had been jailed on drug trafficking charges in the U.S.

Griner was arrested on Feb. 17 at Moscow’s Sheremteyevo airport, after cannabis-infused vaporiser cartridges were allegedly found in her lugggage. She faces ten years in prison on drugs charges.

(Reporting by Reuters; editing by Guy Faulconbridge)