Russian lawyer for WNBA basketball star Brittany Griner filed an appeal on Monday Asking that his nine-year prison sentence be commuted or waived off on a drug charge.
Phoenix Mercury center and two-time Olympic gold medalist Griner was arrested in February at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport after vape canisters containing cannabis oil were found in his luggage. He said he packed it by accident, pleaded guilty and was formally convicted on August 4.
During the WNBA offseason, Griner played for a women’s basketball team in Yekaterinburg, Russia’s fourth largest city.
The appeal comes a day after Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the Kremlin was ready for “a professional dialogue and concrete steps” to free Griner and American Paul Whelan in exchange for Russian national Viktor Bout. Bout is serving a 25-year sentence for conspiracy to kill American citizens, delivery of anti-aircraft missiles and aiding a terrorist organization.
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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky dismissed the heads of Ukraine’s security service for the Kyiv region, Lviv and Ternopil. No explanation was issued for the dismissal. Zelensky recently fired the head of Ukraine’s security service and the prosecutor general, saying that several employees were working for the Russians.
Ukraine’s parliament extended martial law across the country for another 90 days.
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Anton Listopad, one of the top pilots of Ukraine’s Air Force, has been killed in combat. Ivano-Frankivsk Physical-Technical Lyceum, from which Listopad graduated, announced his death a facebook post, Several Ukrainian media outlets also reported his death. In 2019, Listopad was recognized as the top pilot in the Ukraine Air Force. A few days before his death, President Volodymyr Zelensky awarded Listopad the Order of Courage for his professionalism and gallantry.
“Anton Listopad was killed while defending the Ukrainian state,” the Facebook post said. “From the first minutes of the Russian massive offensive, Captain Anton (to fight) the independence and independence of Ukraine.”
Contribution: The Associated Press