President Biden and Vice President Harris spoke Wednesday with wife Britney Grenier, a WNBA star who has been detained in Russia since February.
Ms Greiner’s family, including wife Cheryl Greiner, have criticized the White House, saying the president did not do enough to free the Phoenix Mercury player from unfair detention on drug charges.
“The President called Cheryl to assure 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 wrongfully held or held hostage in Russia and around the world.” House said in a statement. “He also read her the draft letter the president is sending to Britney Greiner today.”
It added that other officials such as Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan had been in previous contact with Cheryl Greiner about the situation.
On Tuesday, Ms Greiner said she found it “extremely disappointing” that she had not heard any response from the White House about her imprisoned wife, after Britney Greiner wrote a letter to the president from Russian prison in which she said she “I’m terrified to be here forever. “
Greiner told CBS that government officials urged her to remain silent so as not to value her wife as a bargaining chip for Russian officials.
“I will not be quiet anymore,” Mrs. Greiner He told CBS. “I will find this balance between harm versus help and pushing our government to do everything possible because being quiet means they don’t move, they don’t do anything.”
Russian customs officials detained the Olympic basketball player twice at Sheremetyevo International Airport outside Moscow in February after security officers reportedly found fumigated capsules containing cannabis oil in her luggage.
Ms Greiner was escorted to a courtroom in Khimki on 1 July, the first day of her trial, in handcuffs.
The Russian government has presented evidence that the WNBA star “purchased two cartridges for personal use, which contain 0.252 grams and 0.45 grams of hash oil,” according to the courtroom. A report from the state news agency TASS.
Ms Greiner could face 10 years in prison if found guilty of large-scale drug transport. Less than 1 percent of defendants in Russian criminal cases have been acquitted, and unlike the United States, acquittals can be overturned.
The White House said it was committed to saving Ms. Greiner and other detained Americans.
“This is a priority issue for this president,” White House press secretary Karen-Jean-Pierre said Tuesday, noting that the United States has designated Ms Greiner as “unfairly detained” by the Russian government.