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Brittney Griner: US makes offer to Russia

The US has made a “substantial offer” to bring two American detainees home from Russia.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he would raise the issue in a call with Russia’s foreign minister next week.

Reports in US media suggest Moscow is interested in exchanging basketball star Brittney Griner for convicted Russian arms trafficker Viktor Bout.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov confirmed talks were ongoing but insisted no agreement had been reached.

Mr Peskov told the BBC that he had been surprised to hear of the reports and said he would not comment until “after an agreement has been carried out”.

Despite Mr Blinken’s claims that he will speak with Mr Lavrov, a Russian foreign ministry spokesperson told the state-owned Tass news agency that they were not aware of any scheduled call.

Mr Blinken and Sergei Lavrov have not spoken since the war in Ukraine began.

Both the White House and the Department of State declined to disclose details of the proposed deal.

According to CNN, the US hopes to trade Bout for Ms Griner and fellow American Paul Whelan, who was convicted of espionage in 2020.

The New York Times reports that the US last month offered Russia to swap Bout for Ms Griner and Whelan, and that President Joe Biden had approved the offer.

Also read; Brittney Griner detainment, WNBA reaction, US response

Editing by Omotola Oguneye