Former Russian ambassador Yuri Ushakov recently said President Biden is pushing for the release of basketball player Brittney Griner in time for a potential mid-term election boost. The claim was made Sunday during an interview aired on state-run Rossiya-1 channel. Ushakov said Griner’s situation is not a Russian priority,

“In this tense situation, the way I see it, [Biden] thinks first and foremost about the upcoming midterm elections, which is why he keeps bringing up the need to return the basketball player who was arrested for delivering drugs…But this is not the most important issue that concerns us,” he added.

Ushakov worked as the ambassador to the US from 1998 until 2008. Currently, he advises President Putin on Russian foreign policy issues.

This is the second time in October that the Biden administration has been called out by global leaders for pressuring their countries to make decisions that help Democrats rally support prior to the midterm elections. Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia exposed Biden for asking them to delay a change in oil production until after the elections.

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Is the Biden administration truly concerned about Americans? Or are gas prices and Griner’s prison term talking points just more virtue signaling to appear caring while gaslighting the American people in time for elections.

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Griner’s situation amid the tension between the US and Russia has garnered a mixed bag of social media posts, while some issue calls for her release others recall Griner as unpatriotic saying she did not want the national anthem played at her games.”Remember that time you were protesting against the United States and did not want the National Anthem played at your games? And now you’re in prison in Russia and want the United States to save you.”

 

Griner, who plays center for Phoenix Mercury, was detained in February after cannabis oil was discovered in her luggage at an airport in Moscow. Griner admitted that she had packed the vape cartridges and said it was an accident. Saying she did not intend to break Russia’s drug laws. She was convicted in August and sent to prison with a nine-year sentence after pleading guilty.

According to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the Biden team offered to exchange Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan for Viktor Bout in July. Bout is known as the “Merchant of Death” and is considered to be an extremely dangerous Russian arms dealer currently serving a 25-year prison sentence in the US. American Paul Whelan is serving a 16yr sentence in Russia for espionage.
Human rights advocate basketball player Enes Kanter Freedom was asked his perspective on the possible prisoner exchange and said it was not a “fair trade,” going on to say he wanted Griner to come home but that the US could not exchange her for someone who is responsible for the loss of so much life. Viktor Bout “is responsible for thousands of lives” and could “harm the US in the long run,” and is “pretty much a terrorist.”

Russia has not responded to the US offer for a prisoner exchange.

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