U.S. in ‘constant contact’ with Russia about Griner, Biden says

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U.S. basketball player Brittney Griner appears in court via video link in Krasnogorsk

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is in “constant contact” with Moscow about Brittney Griner, the U.S. WNBA basketball star being held in Russia, President Joe Biden said on Tuesday, after her appeal against a nine-year sentence for drug smuggling was denied.

“We’re in constant contact with Russian authorities to get Brittany and others out. So far we’ve not been meeting with much positive response but we’re not stopping,” he said.

Biden also warned Moscow against using a nuclear weapon, after Russia told the United Nations that it believed Ukraine was planning a “dirty bomb,” an allegation Western officials have dismissed.

“Russia would be making an incredibly serious mistake for it use a tactical nuclear weapon. I’m not guaranteeing you that it’s a false flag operation yet, we don’t know. But it would be a serious mistake,” Biden said.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason and Chris Gallagher; Editing by Mark Porter and Marguerita Choy)

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