The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov have both commented on their willingness to hold talks of a prisoner swap, a day after WNBA player Brittney Griner was convicted by a Russian court to nine years in prison for marijuana possession.

“We put forward, as you know, a substantial proposal that Russia should engage with us on. And what Foreign Minister Lavrov said this morning and said publicly is that they are prepared to engage through channels we’ve established to do just that and we’ll be pursuing,” Blinken said to reporters at a press conference at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Cambodia

Earlier in the day, Lavrov had spoken to reporters saying that Russia was ready to “discuss the topic, but within the framework of the channel that has been agreed by the presidents,” the state agency RIA Novosti reported. 

A US State Department had told CNN that Blinken and Lavrov had not met at the ASEAN summit and that the country’s Secretary of State had no intention of doing so. 

Last month, Russia had asked for arms dealer Viktor Bout and a former colonel of the FSB, the country’s domestic spy agency, be handed over in exchange for Griner and Paul Whelan. 

Whelan was arrested in Russia in 2018 and subsequently convicted in 2020 on espionage charges that he denies. The US State Department classifies both Griner and Whelan as ‘wrongfully detained.’

Griner was arrested in February 2022 as she was making her way through Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport for carrying vape cartridges which contained cannabis oil. She was found guilty on drug possession and smuggling charges and subsequently sentenced to nine years in prison. 

“I call on Russia to release her immediately so she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends, and teammates,” President Joe Biden had said in a statement shortly after her conviction.