Three questions about the arrest of American basketball player Britney Grenier in Russia – Liberation

US Olympic basketball champion Britney Greiner has been arrested in Russia on drug charges. The arrest, in a geopolitical context, sounds like “a warning sign to all Americans in Russia,” according to a former US ambassador to Moscow. We are evaluating.

After long weeks of silence, the arrest of Britney Grenier may soon make a big splash. This American basketball star has been detained in Russia since February after being arrested at Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport in possession of liquid cannabis oil. Its fate is now linked to the high tensions between Russia and the West since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. What do we know about his arrest?

How was she arrested?

At the end of February – the exact date of her arrest is unknown – Britney Greiner has just arrived at the Moscow-Sheremetyevo airport, the largest in the country, from New York. Customs discovered him while checking his bag at a security checkpoint “vaper” Contains “liquid with a special smell, which turned out to be hashish. Initially, the information, which was revealed by the Russian Federal Customs Service on Saturday, did not mention the name of the player in question. refer to it as “Member of the National Basketball Association and a two-time Olympic Basketball Champion with Team USA,” The press release was accompanied by a video of him passing through the security gate.

And the Russian news agency TASS, quoting a police source, said that the player is Britney Grenier, who is now under criminal investigation for drug transport, which may be punished by 5 to 10 years in prison. “American Basketball is aware and closely monitoring the legal situation facing Britney Grenier in Russia”The US team entrusted to him tweeted “Worried” for “Safety and luxury” for the player. Her club, Phoenix Mercury, as well as the American Professional Players Association, WNBPA, have also indicated that they “looking at” On the case of Britney Grenier.

What was she doing in Russia?

Her name is unknown in France but the 31-year-old is one of the biggest stars of American women’s basketball. Peaking at 2.06 metres, she serves as a hub at the Phoenix Mercury in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), the NBA’s Women’s Professional Basketball Association, and also joined the All Star Team six times between 2013 and 2019, an annual meeting among the conference’s top players Eastern and Western Conference of the WNBA. In addition to her Olympic titles in Rio 2016 and Tokyo in 2021, she won the Basketball World Cup with the United States in 2014 and 2018. Her presence in Russia is not inconsistent. It is typical to see many WNBA players competing in European leagues during the downturn in the United States, including the Russian and Ukrainian leagues. So Britney Grenier played for the Russian UMMC Yekaterinburg team, which she won in the Women’s European League four times.

What are the reactions to his arrest?

When asked about it, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken admitted that he did not exist “There’s not much I can say given privacy considerations at this point.”. “When an American is detained anywhere in the world, we are, of course, ready to provide all possible assistance, including in Russia”, he added. The most assertive, Sheila Jackson Lee, the Democratic representative of Houston (Grenier’s hometown), immediately warned: “We know there have been issues with vape cartridges and other items, but let me be very clear. Britney Greiner is an American citizen, and she has been invited to Russia… and I will demand her release.” “I don’t want to ignore a sovereign state, but Putin has ignored sovereign states throughout his time in power”Lee, who claims to have been exchanged with the State Department, went on to work for his release.

Could Greiner now be a bargaining chip for the Kremlin or even a pawn of the Putin regime engaged in a confrontation with the Americans and NATO after the invasion of Ukraine? “Obviously I don’t know the circumstances of his arrest, but Greiner’s arrest should serve as a wake-up call for all Americans in Russia.”alerted Michael A. McFaul, the former US ambassador to Moscow. “Leave. Close your business now.”, Knock. The same concern in columns The New York TimesAs the two journalists insist: “The detention of a prominent American may be a way for Russia to gain leverage in the political and economic standoff with Washington over the invasion of Ukraine.”

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