Washington – President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris spoke Wednesday with Sheryl Grenier, wife of the WNBA basketball star.who remains behind bars in Russia, the White House said.
Greiner has been imprisoned in Russia since February, and her trial began last week. The Biden administration has come under increasing pressure to do more to secure her release.
The call comes two days after a handwritten letter from 31-year-old Greiner was delivered to Biden to the White House, according to her family, in which she pleaded with the president to take her home. “I’m terrified to be here forever,” the Phoenix Mercury player.
The White House said Wednesday that the president and vice president “spoke today with Cheryl Greiner, wife of Britney Grenier who is being unjustly detained in Russia in intolerable conditions.”
Biden sought “to reassure her that he is working to secure the earliest possible release of Britney, as well as the release of Paul Whelan and other American citizens who have been unjustly held or held hostage in Russia and around the world.” House said. He also read her a draft of the letter the president is sending to Britney Grenier today.
The White House has not shared specific details of the president’s letter to Grenier, but said that on Wednesday the president offered his support to the Grenier family and offered his commitment to making sure they receive all possible assistance from the administration. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken previously spoke with Sheryl Greiner.
Cheryl GreinerOn Tuesday, his wife decided to write to Biden directly because the family had not been in contact with him.
“It kills me every time, you know, when I have to write to her and she asks, ‘Have you met them yet?’ And I have to say no… I’m sure she’s like, ‘I’m going to write it down and ask it now because my family has tried in vain, so I’m going to do it myself,'” Cheryl said.
She was arrested at an airport near Moscow in February, where officials claimed she had vape cartridges containing cannabis oil in her luggage. If convicted, she faces up to 10 years in prison.
Phoenix Mercury coach Vanessa Nygaard suggested this week that Grenier’s case would go further if she were a male basketball star in the NBA.
“If it was LeBron, he’d be home, right?” Nygaard He saidReferring to Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James. “It’s a statement about the value of a woman. It’s a statement about the value of a black person. It’s a statement about the value of a gay person. All of these things. We know, and it hurts a little more.”