Griner was sentenced to 9½ years in prison for bringing into the country one gram of cannabis oil that was illegal in Russia. He has been in jail since his arrest on February 17.
Jean-Pierre said Thursday that Russia continues to refuse a “significant offer” from the United States to “resolve the current unacceptable and wrongful detention” of Griner and Paul Whelan, a former U.S. Marine imprisoned in Russia. Last month, Jean-Pierre told reporters that Russia had yet to respond to the Biden administration’s “serious” plan to release Kreiner in July.
“Despite the Russians’ lack of good faith negotiations, the U.S. government continues to pursue that opportunity and propose alternative viable options with the Russians in all available ways,” Jean-Pierre said Thursday. “It continues to be a top priority.”
However, Jean-Pierre did not provide details of any alternative proposal presented to Russia.
In a tweet Thursday, State Department spokesman Ned Price said U.S. Embassy representatives who met with Griner “saw firsthand his perseverance and tenacity even in his current circumstances.”
“We continue to press for the immediate release of Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan and fair treatment for every American detained,” Price said.
Spokesmen for Griner’s family did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the visit by diplomatic officials.
The US government has been around for a long time classified Griner’s Arrest in “False Custody”
Last week, after a Russian court rejected his appeal, Griner’s lawyers He also said he would speak to his client about the possibility of an appeal and said they intend to use “all available legal tools”. Once the appeal process is over, he will be transferred to a penal colony.
Griner, a 6-foot-9 center and two-time Olympic gold medalist with the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, was arrested in February at Sheremetyevo International Airport near Moscow while trying to enter Russia. She turned 32 last month while in prison, and at one point family and friends called for her release and safe return to the United States.
August, Russia Agreed Negotiations for the release of Griner and Whelan are underway for the first time, but have not confirmed media reports that a possible transfer to Russian arms dealer Viktor Bode, who is serving a 25-year sentence in the United States, is possible.
Families of Griner and Whelan met to discuss their relative’s incarceration with President Biden at the White House in September. At the time, White House spokesman John Kirby said Biden was “not going to let up” in his efforts to get Russia to release Kreiner and Whelan.
“These two individuals need to be returned to where they are with their families,” Kirby said.
Mite Fernandez Simon and Marie Ilyushina contributed to this report.