President Biden said Wednesday he hopes Russian President Vladimir Putin will be open to “talk more seriously” about securing the release of WNBA superstar Brittney Griner — now that the US midterm elections are wrapped up.

“My hope is, now that the election is over, that Mr. Putin will be able to discuss with us and be willing to talk more seriously about prisoner exchange,” Biden told reporters at a press conference Wednesday, after it was revealed that the athlete was being moved to an undisclosed penal colony to serve the remainder of a nine-year drug smuggling sentence.

The president stressed he is “determined to get her home” even after a Russian court denied an appeal of her lengthy sentence last month, which US officials slammed as unjust and politically motivated.

Griner was arrested at a Moscow airport in February when vape cartridges containing cannabis oil, which is banned in Russia, were found in her luggage.

The two-time Olympic gold medallist pleaded guilty but has repeatedly apologized for the “honest mistake.” She was sentenced in August.

WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner
WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner has been held in Russia for a 9-year prison sentence for drug possession.
Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP

The arrest has contributed to rising tensions between the two countries that already have a fraught relationship.

In July, the Biden administration proposed a prisoner swap that would include Griner and US Marine Paul Whelan in exchange for a Russian arms dealer but the talks stalled.

Griner’s legal team said Wednesday the hoopster was transferred from a detention center outside Moscow last week and she is now on her way to an unknown penal colony.

Biden
Biden spoke to reporters Wednesday about his hopes to get Griner back home.
Tom Brenner/REUTERS
Russian President Vladimir Putin
The president is hopeful that Putin will be more willing to discuss prisoner exchange details following the election.
Getty Images

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement that the United States expects Russian authorities to provide its embassy officials with access to Griner in the “remote penal colony.”

US Embassy officials had visited Griner last week. 

With Post wires



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