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State Department spokesman Ned Price held a news briefing Tuesday afternoon after department officials met with WNBA star’s Brittney Griner team about her monthslong detention in Russia and President Joe Biden’s administration’s efforts to secure her release.
Watch the briefing in the player above.
The State Department confirmed the meeting, which involved officials from its specialized office that advocates for hostages and wrongfully detained Americans.
The administration has previously said that its working to bring Griner and another American, Michigan corporate security executive Paul Whelan, home from Russia.
Russian state-run news agency Tass reported Tuesday that Griner will remain in Russian custody through at least July 2.
Griner was detained on Feb. 17 at an airport in Russia after authorities there said a search of her bag revealed vape cartridges containing a cannabis derivative. In May, the State Department reclassified Griner as wrongfully detained and transferred oversight of her case to the State Department Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs, or SPEHA.
READ MORE: Brittney Griner allowed to communicate through email with WNBA teammates
The Khimki district court of the Moscow region extended Griner’s detention for a third time, according to the Tass report, which also cited a top Russian diplomat as saying that Moscow will not consider including Griner in a detainee swap “until a court investigation into her case is completed.”
Price told reporters Tuesday that it was his understanding that department officials learned of the extension in her detention only through Tass, which he said was problematic.
“This case is problematic from top to bottom,” he said. “It is precisely why we have characterized Brittney Griner as an unlawful detainee. It’s precisely why we are doing everything we can to seek and to affect her prompt release from Russian detention.”
Griner’s teammates as well as players across the league have been pushing Biden on social media to help get her home.
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