The Kremlin said on Friday it was ready to discuss a prisoner swap with the United States, a day after WNBA star Britney Greener was convicted of drug smuggling and sentenced to nine years in a Russian prison.
“The president has agreed to have a special channel that remains relevant no matter what anyone says publicly,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters in Cambodia. State news agency RIA Novosti.
Lavrov added: “If Americans decide to resort to public diplomacy again and declare loudly that they will now take steps of one kind or another, that’s their business, their problem,” the report said.
The comments were made by a top diplomat to Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit. U.S. Secretary of State Blinken told reporters at the same event on Friday that the U.S. would hold discussions with Russia.
“As you know, we have an important proposal that Russia should engage with us. What Foreign Minister Lavrov said publicly this morning is that they are ready to engage through the channels we have established for this. And we will pursue this a little,” said Blinken. CNN reports.
Last week, the Biden administration proposed a prisoner swap with convicted Russian arms dealer Victor Bout for Greener and former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan.