NEW Fox News articles can now be heard on audio! When he announced his intention to travel to Russia to lobby for the release of WNBA star Brittney Griner, who was sentenced to nine years in prison after being found guilty of drug charges, NBA legend Dennis Rodman made headlines over the weekend.
Over the weekend, Rodman told NBC News that he had “had permission” to go to Russia in order to “assist that girl.” He made no mention of the person who authorized his trip to Russia.
Ned Price, a spokesman for the State Department, was questioned about Rodman’s travel schedule on Monday.
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Well, we have learned that Dennis Rodman has stated his intention to visit Russia through the media, and actually just through the media. To be clear, he is not traveling on behalf of the United States government, Price stated.
“I just recited what we have been saying for the previous few weeks. To request the release of Paul Whelan and Brittney Griner, we made a persuasive presentation to Russia. Anything other than continuing negotiations through the established channel, in our opinion, is likely to make such release attempts more challenging and difficult. Due to a number of threats, not the least of which is the threat of unjustified arrest, we have also made it very plain that Americans should not visit Russia. That has been our universal message to private Americans.
In order to prevent Americans from visiting Russia, the State Department has issued a Level 4 travel alert.
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“Do not travel to Russia due to the unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine by Russian military forces, the possibility of harassment of U.S. citizens by Russian government security personnel, the singling out of U.S. citizens in Russia by Russian government security personnel, including detention, the arbitrary application of local law, the limited number of flights into and out of Russia, the Embassy’s limited ability to assist U.S. citizens in Russia, and COVID-19-related issues. “U.S. citizens living or visiting Russia should leave the country right away. Due to unjust detentions, use extra vigilance.
Price stated last week that the organization continued to label Griner as having been “wrongfully detained.” He was questioned about Griner and the possibility of an exchange of prisoners with Russia, maybe involving Paul Whelan, another American detained in Russia, and convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout.
No aspect of this trial alters our conclusion that Brittney Griner is being unlawfully held and needs to be immediately freed, according to Price. “For this reason, we have made what we believe to be a serious, meaningful proposal and effort to request her release as well as to request Paul Whelan’s release a number of weeks ago.
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“We are in contact with the Russians about this issue, and we urge them to pursue this in a positive manner.”
Lawyers for Griner appealed her conviction in Russia. In February, she was detained for smuggling vape cartridges containing cannabis-derived oils through a Moscow airport. On August 4, she was found guilty and given a sentence.
Rodman has a track record of dealing with top political figures.
One of the first Americans to meet North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un was Rodman in 2013. In January 2014, the ex-Chicago Bulls player wrote a letter to Kim; ten months later, according to to TMZ Sports. , American Kenneth Bae was freed from captivity. Since the release of Bae, Rodman had made a few appearances throughout the nation.