RIA: Russia and the US start debating Griner and Whelan's release

MOSCOW: The US and Russia are in special channel discussions regarding the release of basketball player Brittany Griner and former Marine Paul Whelan, according to a senior US diplomat cited by the RIA Novosti news agency on Monday.

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The US Embassy in Russia's charge d'affaires, Elizabeth Rudd, was quoted as saying that the US had submitted a serious proposal for consideration, but had not received a "serious response" from Russia.

Russia and the United States are discussing a deal in which Griner, who is facing nine years in prison in Russia on drug charges, would be returned to the United States in exchange for convicted Russian arms smuggler Viktor Bout.

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Despite increased tension between the two countries, no agreement could be reached.

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