Putin spokesman: Brittney Griner is not a ‘hostage’
A spokesperson for Russian President Vladimir Putin pushed back on the U.S. State Department’s position that WBNA star Brittney Griner is being wrongfully detained in Russia, saying an interview on Monday that “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,” Dmitry Peskov told NBC News senior international correspondent Keir Simmons in an exclusive interview.
Peskov did not provide any indication on when Russian officials would release Griner, who has been detained in since February after authorities allegedly found hashish oil in her luggage.
In his interview with NBC News, Peskov claimed her case did not differ from “hundreds and hundreds of Russian citizens that were sentenced for carrying hashish” and asked why officials should make an exception for the American basketball star.
Peskov said he could not speak about the decision of Russian law enforcement when he was asked why she had not just been directed back home or refused entry.
The Biden administration declared last month that Griner was being wrongfully detained in Russia. Her detention has been extended several times, the latest of which is through early July.
State Department officials briefed members of Griner’s WNBA team, the Phoenix Mercury, earlier this month on developments in her case.
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