Russian envoy says there's a specific channel behind drug case

Russian envoy says there's a specific channel behind drug case

Lavrov said at a news conference in Cambodia's capital Phnom Penh on Friday that there was a specific channel that was agreed upon by Presidents Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden and no matter what anyone says publicly.

His comments came a day after American women's basketball star Brittney Griner was convicted of deliberately smuggling drugs into Russia and sentenced to nine years of jail time, in a case that has raised concerns that she is being used as a political pawn in Russia's war against Ukraine.

During the trial, Griner pleaded guilty to not having more than 1 gram of cannabis oil in her luggage as she traveled through a Moscow airport on February 17. She said she was in a rush and stress packing and that she was aware of Russia's strict drug laws and had no intention of bringing cannabis into the country. Before the verdict, Griner apologized to the court and asked for leniency in an emotional speech.

I never meant to hurt anyone, I never meant to put in jeopardy the Russian population, I never meant to break any laws here, Griner said. I made an honest mistake and I hope that it doesn't end my life here. I know everyone keeps talking about politics and political pawns, but I hope that is not the case in this courtroom.