Russia says it’s ready to discuss prisoner swap; three ships carrying grain leave Ukrainian ports

US’ Women’s National Basketball Association (NBA) basketball player Brittney Griner, who was detained at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport and later charged with illegal possession of cannabis, stands inside a defendants’ cage before a court hearing in Khimki outside Moscow, on August 4, 2022. –

Kirill Kudryavtsev | AFP | Getty Images

Moscow said it was ready to begin talks with the U.S. about a prisoner swap following the sentencing of basketball star Brittney Griner to nine years in jail on drugs charges.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said President Vladimir Putin and his U.S. counterpart Joe Biden had previously agreed on a diplomatic channel for discussions.

It comes as Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken both attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where they refused to speak to one another.

Meantime, Putin and Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan are scheduled to meet later today in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

Elsewhere, three more shipments of grain left Ukrainian ports in the latest phase of an internationally brokered deal aimed at relieving a global food crisis. A Turkish bulk carrier was expected to arrive in the Ukrainian Black Sea port of Chornomorsk, the first to reach the country’s harbor since Russia’s invasion.

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