U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday (March 6) that the White House will “provide every possible assistance” to Americans who are being detained in foreign countries after news of WNBA star Brittney Griner’s Russian arrest.
“There’s only so much I can say given the privacy considerations at this point,” Blinken said of Griner’s situation during a joint news conference with Moldova president Maia Sandu.
“Whenever an American is detained anywhere in the world we, of course, stand ready to provide every possible assistance and that includes in Russia,” he added. “We have an embassy team that’s working on the cases of other Americans who are detained in Russia. We’re doing everything we can to see to it that their rights are upheld and respected.”
As reported by REVOLT, Griner was arrested in Russia last month after customs officials at the Sheremetyevo International Airport said they found vape cartridges with hashish oil in her luggage. The Olympic gold medalist has been detained in the country ever since and, according to Russian news agency TASS, could face between five and 10 years in prison if convicted of drug possession charges.
The U.S. State Department issued a “do not travel” advisory for Russia on Jan. 23 due to the “potential for harassment against U.S. citizens, the embassy’s limited ability to assist U.S. citizens in Russia, COVID-19 and related entry restrictions, terrorism, harassment by Russian government security officials and the arbitrary enforcement of local law.”
On Saturday (March 5), a second “do not travel” advisory was issued in light of Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
The Phoenix Mercury, which Griner has played nine seasons with, also released a statement about her detention on Saturday. The team said it is “aware of and closely monitoring the situation with Brittney Griner in Russia.”
“We remain in constant contact with her family, her representation, the WNBA and the NBA,” it added.