Brittany Greener has met with U.S. officials amid concerns over her healthOn March 24, 2022 by editor
Greener faces alleged drug charges and faces up to ten years in prison.
March 24, 2022, 4:58 p.m.
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WNBA star Britney Greene met with U.S. officials for the first time on Thursday after more than a month in pre-trial detention in Russia, according to the U.S. State Department.
State Department spokeswoman Med Price told reporters Thursday that “the consular officer who met with Brittany Greener has been able to verify that she is performing as well as expected in this difficult situation.”
“We will continue to work closely with his legal team, with his larger network, to ensure that he is treated fairly and that his rights are respected,” he added.
The two-time Olympic gold medalist was traveling to Russia to play basketball in the off-season and was arrested last month at the Moscow airport for possessing hashish oil in his luggage – a vap cartridge containing an illegal Russian substance.
According to Russian media reports, he faces up to ten years in prison on drug charges.
Greener’s visit with officials from the U.S. consular officer at the Moscow embassy comes after the State Department expressed concern about Greener’s recovery after Russia extended his pre-trial detention until May 19.
Greener, a Houston resident, was detained on February 17 – a week before Russia invaded Ukraine.
The attack raises tensions between the United States and Russia, and amid a volatile diplomatic environment, raising concerns about Greener, with some officials fearing Greener and other Americans incarcerated in Russia could be used as leverage in the ongoing conflict.
Secretary of State Anthony Blinken announced Wednesday that the State Department has made a formal assessment that Russian forces have committed war crimes in Ukraine. The United States has imposed new sanctions on Russia, including personal sanctions on Putin and some of his close associates. , But Ukraine continues to oppose a no-fly zone and the deployment of U.S. troops to fight Russia.
Representative Sheila Jackson-Lee, of De-Texas, whose district includes parts of Houston, called for the release of the athlete and told ABC’s “Nightline” last Thursday that there should be a dispute between the US and Russia over the invasion of Ukraine. Does not affect Greener’s chances of release.
“You know, there are international protocols that should be in place despite the conflict,” the congresswoman said.
“It’s a big conflict. It’s a big act of violence. It’s an aggression. It had nothing to do with Brittany Greener,” he added.
On Thursday, Price said Greener’s visit with US officials was a “one-time trip” or that “time will tell” whether Russia’s “attitude” was changing.
“We want timely access to American detainees in Russia, including those in pre-trial detention. Additional visits will be made to Brittany Greener and other Americans detained in Russia,” he said.
Last week, Price expressed concern that Russia had not yet “allowed” U.S. officials to enter Greener.
“Under the Vienna Convention, the Russians are obliged to allow such consular access,” Price told ABC News Live at the time. “We insist that they allow us access to Brittany Greener just as we have allowed access to all Americans detained in Russia.”
Greener is a seven-time WNBA All-Star, having played for the Phoenix Mercury since 2013.
Phoenix Mercury Says The team is in contact with Greener’s family, representatives and the WNBA and is closely monitoring his case, according to a March 5 statement.
“We love and support Brittany and our main concerns at this time are her safety, her physical and mental health and her safe return home,” said Phoenix Mercury.
ABC News’ Connor Finnegan, Libby Cathy, Candice Mascal, Matthew Fuhrmann, Miles Cohen and Tania Stuklova contributed to this report.