AP Photo/Eric Gay
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on Wednesday called Cherelle Griner, the wife of Brittney Griner, to reassure the WNBA star’s family that the US is doing everything it can to get Griner out of Russia.
“The President called Cherelle to reassure her that he is working to secure Brittney’s release as soon as possible, as well as the release of Paul Whelan and other U.S. nationals who are wrongfully detained or held hostage in Russia and around the world,” the White House said in a statement about the call.
Biden also read Cherelle Griner part of a draft he’s written in response to Brittney Griner’s letter this week. The imprisoned star made an emotional plea for the president to do more to secure her release. Griner contrasted her incarceration with the freedom that flows from the Fourth of July.
“On the 4th of July, our family normally honors the service of those who fought for our freedom including my father who is a Vietnam War Veteran,” the Phoenix Mercury star wrote to Biden, according to an excerpt shared with the media. “It hurts thinking about how I usually celebrate this day because freedom means something completely different to me this year.”
Griner has been in prison in Russia since mid-February after local officials alleged that they found vape cartridges with hashish oil in her luggage at a Moscow airport. Like many WNBA stars, Griner plays in Russia during the off-season.
Her situation has also come as US-Russian relations rapidly deteriorate following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Griner’s imprisonment has drawn international attention.
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