White House press secretary Karen-Jean-Pierre said Tuesday that the issue of WNBA star and U.S. Olympic player Britney Grenier continuing to be detained in Russia is a “priority” for President Joe Biden and his administration after a letter from the basketball player to Biden was made public. From the family of Mrs. Greiner.
“This is a priority issue for this president,” said Ms. Jean-Pierre, noting that the United States had designated Ms Greiner as “unjustly detained” by the Russian government.
Russian customs officials detained Ms Greiner at Sheremetyevo International Airport in February after security service officers reportedly found fumigated capsules containing cannabis oil in her luggage. His wife, Cheryl, has alleged that the Biden administration did not give her position the attention it deserved because of Ms. Greiner’s gender, ethnicity, and standing as an LGBT person.
Ms Jean-Pierre said Mr Biden “believes that any US citizen who is being held abroad or taken hostage abroad, we must bring them back safely.”
“We will use every tool we can,” she said.
She added that Mr. Biden had no plans to meet with Mrs. Grenier’s family, but said his wife had had two conversations with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan in the past 10 days and had spoken to Secretary of State Anthony Blinken as well.
“Obviously we think she was wrongly detained, and we think she needs to be repatriated,” Ms Jean-Pierre said, adding that the administration believed that “any other US citizen” who was “wrongly detained abroad” should be returned to the United States, including Another American detained in Russia, Paul Wallen.
After insisting on whether Ms. Greiner’s case was evidence of double standards, Ms Jean-Pierre denied any such thing and said Mr Biden was “doing everything in his power” for her.
“The White House is also closely coordinating with the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs, who has met with Britney’s family, colleagues, and support network,” she said. “So we’ll continue to have these conversations and make sure she and others get home safely.”
Ms Jean-Pierre added that the administration would continue to have “honest” and “private” conversations with Ms Greiner’s family, as well as the families of other Americans detained abroad. But she declined to go into details about any conversations between the administration and the detained WNBA star’s relatives.
“All I can confirm is that he read the letter and that he makes this a priority,” she said.