MOSCOW, August 2. /TASS/. "Megaphone diplomacy" won’t work in terms of prisoner exchanges between Moscow and Washington, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Tuesday.
"We still believe that information exchanges on the issue should be discreet," he said, declining to comment on US statements about Russian proposals not being serious. "Megaphone diplomacy and a public exchange of views won’t work here," he added.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said at a briefing on Monday that the US administration did not consider Moscow’s response to Washington’s prisoner swap proposal to be serious. When speaking about US nationals jailed in Russia whom Washington sought to exchange, she mentioned Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan.
US basketball player Griner was detained in February 2022 upon arrival in Moscow from New York on suspicion of attempting to smuggle hashish oil to Russia. She pleaded guilty at a court hearing on July 7 but added that he had acted unintentionally. As a member of the US women’s national team, Griner won gold medals at the 2014 and 2018 World Championships, as well as at the 2016 and 2020 Olympic Games. Before her arrest, she played for Russia’s UMMC Ekaterinburg team.
Whelan, who holds US, British, Canadian and Irish passports, was detained by Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) in Moscow on December 28, 2018, while on a spy mission. A criminal case was opened against him under Article 276 of the Russian Criminal Code (espionage). The Moscow City Court eventually sentenced Whelan to 16 years in a high-security penal colony.