Griner: Taking cannabis to Russia 'an honest mistake'

STORY: Griner, who pleaded guilty to the charges, said that she did not intend to break the law, and that her parents had taught her to take ownership of her responsibilities.

Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medallist and a Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) star, was detained at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport on February 17 with vape cartridges containing hashish oil in her luggage.

Cannabis is illegal in Russia for both medicinal and recreational purposes.

The cartridges threw the 31-year-old Texan athlete into the geopolitical maelstrom triggered when President Vladimir Putin sent troops into Ukraine on February 24.

The United States has said Griner was wrongfully detained and made what Secretary of State Antony Blinken called a "substantial offer" to Moscow to exchange Russian prisoners for American citizens held in Russia, including Griner and former Marine Paul Whelan.

Russian officials have said a deal has not been reached. They argue that Griner - known as "BG" to basketball fans - violated the country's laws and should be judged accordingly.

The Kremlin has also repeatedly warned Washington against resorting to megaphone diplomacy, or negotiations conducted through press releases. They say this strategy could derail the swap.

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