U.S. officials have met with Brittney Griner in Russia, the White House and State Department both said on Thursday.
In a statement posted on Twitter, State Department spokesperson Ned Price announced that U.S. officials “visited Brittney Griner today. They saw firsthand her tenacity and perseverance despite her present circumstances.”
He continued, “We continue to press for the immediate release of Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan and fair treatment for every detained American.”
.@USEmbRU officials visited Brittney Griner today. They saw firsthand her tenacity and perseverance despite her present circumstances. We continue to press for the immediate release of Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan and fair treatment for every detained American.
— Ned Price (@StateDeptSpox) November 3, 2022
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre also mentioned the visit when speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One on Thursday. She told reporters that Griner “is doing as well as can be expected under the circumstances,” and that her release remains “a top priority” for the Administration, NBC reports.
The State Department has classified Griner as “wrongfully detained,” meaning that it believes the drug charges are irrelevant to her detainment. The Biden Administration has called publicly for her release, and for the release of Paul Whelan, a former Marine who is also currently detained in Russia on charges of espionage.
Griner recently shared her thanks to supporters from prison on her 32nd birthday. She had previously sent a letter to President Biden in July, writing that she was “terrified I might be here [in prison] forever.”