WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The Biden administration is taking new steps to try to bring WNBA star Brittney Griner back from Russia.
It comes after months of public pressure from Griner’s family and Griner herself, who personally wrote to President Joe Biden while she was imprisoned asking for her release.
Griner is currently on trial in Moscow, where she has been held since February for drug trafficking. She faces up to 10 years in prison.
According to the US State Department, the president signed a prisoner exchange.
“The President is prepared to make tough decisions if it means the safe return of Americans,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.
Blinken said he planned to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to discuss the potential deal in the coming days.
The offer also demands the release of Paul Whelan, who has been detained in Russia since 2018 and is serving a 16-year sentence for espionage.
The White House is keeping a close eye on the details of the deal, but is likely offering convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout in the trade. For years, Russia has called for Bout’s release. He was sentenced to 25 years in 2012.