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State Dept. pushes for release of Phoenix WNBA star Brittney Griner and other imprisoned Americans in Russia

U.S. basketball player Brittney Griner celebrates during the gold medal game against Japan on Sunday in Saitama, Japan.
Charlie Neibergall
/
AP
U.S. basketball player Brittney Griner celebrates during the gold medal game against Japan on Sunday in Saitama, Japan.

State Department officials have met with representatives of Brittney Griner’s WNBA team about the Phoenix Mercury star’s monthslong detention in Russia and the Biden administration’s efforts to secure her release.

The State Department confirmed the meeting, which involved officials from its specialized office that advocates for hostages and wrongfully detained Americans.

The administration has previously said its working to bring Griner and another American, Michigan corporate security executive Paul Whelan, home from Russia. Griner was detained on Feb. 17 at an airport in Moscow after Russian authorities said a search of her bag revealed vape cartridges containing a cannabis derivative.