Washington (US), August 5: The negotiations on a potential prisoner swap with Russia for Paul Whelan and Brittney Griner are being held at various levels, National Security Council Strategic Communications Coordinator John Kirby said on Thursday.
"I'm not gonna negotiate in public. Conversations are ongoing at various levels. And I'll just leave it at that," Kirby told a briefing.
A telephone call has not been scheduled between US President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin regarding the potential prisoner swap deal of US citizens Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan, National Security Council Strategic Communications Coordinator John Kirby said on Thursday.
Earlier on Thursday, a Russian court sentenced US basketball player Griner to nine years in jail on charges of smuggling and possessing cannabis oil in Russia.
In late July, US media reported that the Biden administration offered to exchange imprisoned Russian citizen Viktor Bout for Griner and Whelan. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said the Biden administration had made a substantial proposal to Moscow to facilitate the release of the US citizens, noting that the US and Russian governments have communicated repeatedly and directly on that proposal.
Russia is reportedly looking for a deal that would involve adding another Russian national, Vadim Krasikov, in order to have a two-for-two prisoner exchange.