The anti-American atmosphere in Russia is off the charts and now, the Americans who had the misfortune of ending up in Russian captivity are being used as pawns in the Kremlin’s cruel game. Basketball star Brittney Griner, detained in Russia on alleged drug charges, as well as two U.S. veterans captured by Russian troops in Ukraine last week—Alexander Drueke and Andy Huynh—are being portrayed by the Kremlin-controlled state media as bargaining chips in Russia’s crusade against the West.
As Griner’s imprisonment was extended, the U.S. State Department reclassified her status to “wrongfully detained,” meaning that her case was placed under the supervision of the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov bristled against that designation, telling NBC News: “She violated Russian law, and now she’s being prosecuted. It’s not about being a hostage.”
Despite the Kremlin’s denials, the Russian media machine has shifted its tone when it comes to Griner. On Tuesday, host of state-funded TV show 60 Minutes Olga Skabeeva said, “Right now, we also have an American basketball player caught with drugs, so we have somewhat of an exchange fund.” Back in May, without naming its source in the Public Oversight Commission for the Moscow region, TASS reported that negotiations to exchange Griner for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout are actively moving forward.
at The Daily Beast.
Source:: The Daily Beast
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