Skip to content

US Looks to Swap Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan for Russian Arms Dealer

  • Blinken to talk to Lavrov first time since Ukraine invasion
  • Russia says no deal yet as two-for-one deal questioned
Brittney Griner before a hearing at the Khimki Court, outside Moscow on July 26.
Brittney Griner before a hearing at the Khimki Court, outside Moscow on July 26.Photographer: Alexander Zemlianichenko/AFP/Getty Images
Updated on

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US has made a “substantial” offer to Russia to free imprisoned Americans Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan, but the Kremlin said no deal has been reached yet.

The US proposal would swap the two for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, whose release Moscow has long sought, according to a person familiar with the plan. Blinken said he will discuss the issue in a phone call with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.