Joe Biden met separately with Elizabeth Whelan, sister of Paul Whelan, and Cherelle Griner, wife of Brittney Griner.
“The president is grateful to have had the opportunity to learn more about Brittney and Paul,” his spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement that did not suggest ongoing negotiations with Russia.
Earlier in the day, John Kirby, a spokesman for the National Security Council at the White House, assured that “discussions are continuing.” “The president won’t let go. He is confident that this issue will remain at the forefront of his and his team’s mind,” added John Kirby.
Cherelle Griner, for her part, thanked Mr. Biden for his administration’s “efforts to obtain his release.” “I felt every minute of those grueling seven months without her,” she said in a statement.
No response from Moscow
Russia recently said it was ready to negotiate a prisoner exchange for a sportswoman.
John Kirby assured that Washington had made a “serious” offer to Moscow but that the Russians were “not responding”. “These two people should be home by now. Period,” he added.
A basketball player was sentenced by a Russian court to nine years in prison for cannabis trafficking.