The United States announced on Tuesday that Russia had unfairly detained basketball star Brittney Griner. This reinforces her efforts to release her more than two months after she was confiscated in Moscow.
A State Department spokesman said, “The State Department has determined that the Russian Federation has illegally detained US citizen Brittney Griner.”
A spokesman called the safety of US citizens “among the top priorities of the US government,” and the State Department “provided appropriate support” to Greener.
Olympic gold medalist and two-time WNBA champion Greener was detained at an airport in Moscow on February 17 on suspicion of bringing in a luggage arc cartridge with hemp oil, which is illegal in Russia.
Washington had previously been granted access to the consulate, but stopped commenting on the nature of her detention.
The discovery, almost a week after the US and Russia exchanged prisoners of war, is reminiscent of the Cold War amid growing tensions over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
In the last exchange, Russia released Trevor Reed, a former US Marine Corps accused of having fought drunk with police.
The United States also states that Russia has unfairly detained Paul Whelan, a former security official at an auto parts company sentenced to 16 years in prison for espionage.
Greener, 31, is considered one of the best female basketball players with the skills to “dunk” the ball.
She was playing club basketball in Russia before the US season resumed. This is a common practice for players seeking additional income.
https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2022/05/03/us-says-basketball-star-wrongfully-detained-in-russia-a77567 The United States states that basketball stars have been “accidentally detained” in Russia