Brittney Griner: Pawn In Putin's Game? Hard To Imagine Otherwise As He Jockeys For Position

Zinger Key Points
  • Russia's plans to use Griner as a bargaining chip appear to be part of Putin's Machiavellian modus operandi. 
  • Biden’s offer to talk with Putin to end the war is only viable, Kremlin says, if they help secure Russia's "national interests." 
Brittney Griner: Pawn In Putin's Game? Hard To Imagine Otherwise As He Jockeys For Position

The fact that the Kremlin essentially dismissed the idea of talks with President Biden to end the war in Ukraine and defended its repeated attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure as "inevitable" does not bode well for anyone. 

Brittney Griner: Pawn In Putin's Game? 

As Ukraine prepares for a freezing winter with no heat and electricity, the very ill former US Marine Paul Whelan goes in and out of a prison hospital, Brittney Griner labors in a horrific penal colony and other American citizens linger in Russian lockups, it’s becoming more and more obvious that the high profile WNBA star is a pawn in Putin’s game. 

Everything points to that as Griner, a two-time Olympic Gold Medalist and much-beloved player for seven years on a famous Russian basketball team, was arrested exactly one week before Russia invaded Ukraine. She was later charged and sentenced to nine years in prison for possessing less than a gram of cannabis oil (legally prescribed to her in the US).

Putin’s plan to use Griner as a bargaining chip with the U.S. seems too obvious to be lost on anyone who has even the slightest knowledge of Vladimir Putin’s Machiavellian modus operandi. 

Despite Biden’s comment last Thursday that he’d be willing to talk to Putin if he’s looking for a way to end the war, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Putin would be open to negotiations, only so long as they help secure Russia's "national interests." 

Non-starter? Seems that way as Peskov noted Biden's demand that Putin "pull out of Ukraine" made talks unlikely. 

Also see: Why Aren't Russian Billionaire Owners Of Brittney Griner's Basketball Team Helping Get Her Out Of Prison?

Anthony Blinken’s Sunday Update On CBS

Secretary of State Antony Blinken told “Face the Nation” Sunday that U.S. officials are pressing Russia “almost every day” to release Griner and Whelan, who has been in and out of the hospital lately with severe health issues.  

“We’re engaged in that on a — on a regular basis. And it’s my determination that we bring our people home. We will not stop until we do,” Blinken told CBS. He repeated the fact that the Biden administration made a “substantial proposal” to free Griner and Whelan in exchange for notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, who has been detained in the U.S. since 2012 and happens to be a close friend of Putin's.

“Again, I’m not going to get into the details of it. Look, the other side gets a vote in this. It’s not just what we want. It’s what they’re prepared to do,” Blinken said. “And this is something that we’re working on almost every day.”

Photo: Benzinga creation with Jo Panuwat D by Shutterstock and Wikimedia Commons

Posted In: Brittney GrinerJoe BidenKremlinPaul WhelanUkraineVladimir PutinCannabisNewsPoliticsMarketsGeneral


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