Griner testifies in Russia as U.S. offers deal

STORY: U.S. basketball player Brittney Griner testified in a Russian court Wednesday that her rights weren't read when she was detained at a Moscow airport in February

"No, my rights were never read to me. No one explained any of it to me."

Griner is on trial for drug charges that could cost her up to 10 years in prison.

The 31-year-old WNBA star plays in Russia during the league's offseason. She was detained when agents found vape cartridges containing hashish oil in her luggage.

Griner said in court Wednesday that she was not provided with an interpreter and did not understand what papers she was made to sign.

"I can only assume they were about the search and the cartridges. We had to use my phone and Google Translate for him to be able to tell me a little bit."

Griner pleaded guilty earlier in the trial but denied she intended to break Russian law.

She said on Wednesday that she still did not understand how the vape cartridges could have ended up in her luggage, saying she had packed hurriedly and could accidentally have included them.

Griner said she had been prescribed medical cannabis in the US to treat chronic injuries - but it is illegal in Russia.

The case against her has highlighted strained relations between Russia and the United States that have plunged to their lowest since the Cold War over the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

U.S. officials say Griner has been wrongly detained and called for her immediate release.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday the US had made a "substantial offer" to bring home Griner and former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan, convicted in Russia of spying.

"We want to see those who are wrongfully detained be released and be able to return home. At the same time, it's important that we work to reinforce the global norm against these arbitrary detentions."

The Kremlin has said the case against her has nothing to do with politics and that she should be tried for violating Russian law.

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