It has been months since WNBA star Brittney Griner has been detained in Russia after she was accused of having hashish oil in her luggage. As her team and the U.S. government continues to fight to have her returned home, a spokesperson for Russian President Vladimir Putin has spoken out about Brittney’s detainment and says she is not a hostage.
In an interview with NBC News, Dmitry Peskov, a spokesperson for Putin, spoke out against the State Department’s claims that Brittney and being held, hostage. He says that is not different from any of the “hundreds and hundreds of Russian citizens that were sentenced for carrying hashish.” He then asked, “Why should we make an exemption for a foreign citizen?”
“She violated Russian law, and now she’s being prosecuted. It’s not about being a hostage. There are lots of American citizens here. They’re enjoying their freedoms … but you have to obey the laws.”
Peskov’s interview with NBC comes as the Russian government places a restraint on “journalists and limits what reporters can say under threat of imprisonment.”
When asked why Brittney wasn’t just denied entry or sent back home, Peskov said that he could not speak on Russian law enforcement’s decision.
Although detained back in February, it wasn’t until last month that the U.S. government officially declared Brittney “wrongfully detained.” Last week, it was announced that Brittney’s detention was extended once again for an additional 18 days, where she is now expected to remain in Russian custody until at least July 2nd.
Brittney’s wife, Cherelle Griner, also spoke out about their anniversary call not happening after her calls went unanswered. Brittney was reportedly given a number to call the U.S. Embassy in Russia, where she would have been connected to her wife through someone at the desk. However, that didn’t happen because the Embassy was “not staffed,” at the time.
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TSR STAFF: Jade Ashley @Jade_Ashley94