Joe Biden might meet with Putin – but only if he agrees to release Brittney Griner

Biden, Putin and Griner

President Biden will only consider a meeting with Vladimir Putin if the Russian president is willing to discuss the release of basketball star Brittney Griner.

In a recent press briefing, White House press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, said that Biden has “no intention” of meeting with Putin at an G-20 Summit.

In relation to Brittney Griner, Jean Pierre added: “The Russians need to take the serious offer that we put forward on the table, or make a serious counter-offer to negotiate, but in good faith”.

Biden’s administration has previously offered to exchange convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout for the release of the two-time Olympic gold medallist. 

As part of the proposed deal, Paul Whelan, a former US Marine who has been detained in Russia since 2018 on espionage charges, would also be released. 

Brittney Griner leaves the courtroom before the Russian court's final decision

Lawyers for Brittney Griner said the process of appealing her sentence in Russia could take months. (Getty)

In a recent interview Biden told CNN’s Jake Tapper: “I have no intention of meeting with him. 

“But for example, if he came to me at the G-20 and said, ‘I want to talk about the release of Griner,’ I’d meet with him. I mean, it would depend.”

Brittney Griner’s February arrest follows vape cartridges containing cannabis oil being found in her luggage at a Moscow airport.

In July, at a lower Russian court Griner pleaded guilty, but said she had inadvertently packed the cartridges in haste and that she had no criminal intent.

The eight-time WNBA All-Star was convicted in Russia on 4 August and was sentenced to nine years in prison and given a fine of one million rubles.

Brittney Griner will have her appeal against the prison sentence heard by a Russian court on 25 October. It comes as increasing pressure on the US to secure Griner’s release mounts.