WNBA star and former Marine – Planned trip to Moscow by US Ambassador to discuss releases

Bill Richardson, the former New Mexico governor and US Ambassador to the United Nations, is expected to travel to Russia soon to discuss securing the release of WNBA star Brittney Griner and former Marine Paul Whelan, according to a source.

The planned trip to Moscow by Richardson, who privately works on behalf of families of hostages and detainees, comes amid US government efforts to free the two Americans and mounting pressure to bring them home.

Both Griner and Whelan are considered wrongfully detained by the US government, and their families have been working with the non-profit Richardson Center. News of the trip comes days after Griner, who has been detained in Russia since February after being arrested on drug smuggling charges, pleaded guilty in a court outside Moscow.

She faces up to 10 years in prison.

Whelan was arrested in 2018 on espionage charges he vehemently denies. He was sentenced in 2020 to 16 years in prison.