Russia has repeated that its willing to participate in a prisoner exchange with the U.S. for the freedom of Brittney Griner.The news comes only a day after Brittney Griner’s legal team confirmed that the lesbian Basketball star has been moved to a penal colony about seven hours outside of Moscow.Russia’s deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov, told journalists on Friday that the Kremlin and the Biden administration are “working professionally along the specifically designated channel,” according to the New York Times, citing the Russian news agency Interfax. “We have yet to arrive at a common denominator, but there is no doubt that Viktor Bout is among those discussed.”“We are definitely counting on a positive outcome,” he added.Bout, who is nicknamed “the Merchant of Death,” is serving a 25-year prison sentence in the U.S.
for conspiring to sell weapons to groups that authorities said were targeting U.S. citizens. The Times reports that Russia has made repeated attempts to secure Bout’s release.On Wednesday, U.S.
and Irish Embassy officials visited Paul Whelan, who has been detained in Russia since 2018, CNN reports. Whelan holds U.S., Canadian, British, and Irish citizenship.“As the lack of an exchange drags on, I’m increasingly concerned about how this will affect his ability to continue,” Whelan's brother, David Whelan, said in an email to the outlet. “It must be awfully hard to maintain hope in his position, knowing of the possibility of freedom, no matter how much stability he is able to carve out.