After being unable to contact her family since being detained and with little word on her case or her well-being during the war in Ukraine, Russian state TV released a photograph of Griner over the weekend, marking the first time she has been seen since she was arrested at a Russian airport last month, according to CNN.
Though the image is not dated, Griner was seen standing against a wall at a police station holding a piece of white paper with her name on it.
Earlier this week, Secretary of State Antony Blinken commented on the situation, stating that the United States will “provide every possible assistance” to citizens who are being held in foreign countries.
“There’s only so much I can say given the privacy considerations at this point,” Blinken said of Griner. “Whenever an American is detained anywhere in the world, we, of course, stand ready to provide every possible assistance, and that includes in Russia. We have an embassy team that’s working on the cases of other Americans who are detained in Russia. We’re doing everything we can to see to it that their rights are upheld and respected.”
On Monday, Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said she had seen reports about Griner but that federal privacy law prevented the U.S. government from discussing a person’s detention without their written consent. American officials have repeatedly accused Russia of detaining U.S. citizens on pretexts.
As previously reported, the WNBA star Center has been in custody since February due to alleged drug charges, although the Russian Federal Customs Service didn’t release footage of Griner, identified by Russia state-operated news agency Tass, at an airport screening until Saturday.
Cherelle T. Griner, the wife of the Phoenix Mercury basketball star, wrote Monday in an Instagram caption “there are no words to express this pain. I’m hurting, we’re hurting. We await the day to love on you as a family.”
The two-time Olympic gold medalist allegedly was stopped for carrying hashish oil in her luggage. The punishment, according to Russian officials, could carry a prison sentence of up to 10 years.