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Vladimir Putin was not pleased with Russia’s recent military failure. Ukraine reclaimed some land after a surprise offensive, which made Putin look foolish in the process. In response, Putin is now threatening to use nuclear weapons to protect Russia’s ‘territorial integrity’ and has called up reserves.
To make it worse — Putin has taken Griner as hostage, sentencing her to nine years in prison for traveling with marijuana earlier this year.
“Brittney Griner is in a lot of trouble,” said Hostage Expert Dave Larison. “She’s a high-value hostage and Putin is not going to let her go easily.”
Larison says that Griner faces harsh conditions in the Gulag, a network of forced labor camps in Russia.
“She’ll be put to work in the mines or in the forests,” said Larison. “The conditions are brutal and she’ll be lucky to survive.”
Griner’s family is pleading for her release, but it’s unclear if Putin will respond to their pleas.
“Putin is a vengeful man and he won’t hesitate to use Brittney Griner as a bargaining chip,” said Larison. “This is a dangerous situation and it could end very badly for her.”
This comes right after Cherelle Griner met with President Biden on the manner: “I want to thank President Biden for today’s meeting. It was an honor to speak with him directly about the Brittney we know and love, and to thank him for the Administration’s efforts to secure her release.”
It looks like basketball star Brittney Griner is in for the long haul, according to hostage expert Amy Manson.
Manson, who works with Hostage US, says that Griner is suffering in a gulag in Russia and that conditions are especially tough for elite athletes.
He continued: “They face the reality of poor nutrition, sometimes no access to fresh air or actual daylight,” Manson said. “Some of our returnees face as much as 50 to 60 to 70 pounds lost. And then we’re talking about muscle wastage, as well as the impact on their bodies of constant poor nutrition and constant stress.”
U.S. State Department official: “We have been in contact with the Richardson Center.
“We made a significant offer to the Russians. We have followed up on that proposal repeatedly. Those discussions are ongoing.”
“One of the reasons he is meeting with the families is that he wanted to let them know that they remain front of mind and that his team is working on this every day — on making sure that Brittney and Paul return home safely.”
WNBA League Commissioner on the incident:
“As we prepare to start this great series, it’s important to reiterate that we are always thinking of Brittney Griner and our commitment to bring her home safely and as quickly as possible. I am so inspired by her courage in the face of enormous adversity.”
Biden is in a tight spot but he does have some prisoners Putin may take in a trade. But he needs to make his move soon because Manson says conditions in the gulag are especially tough for elite athletes.