Biden to meet families of Americans jailed in Russia

President Biden will personally meet with the families of Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan at the White House today, a source familiar with the matter told CNN.

This is the first time he will meet them in person.

“The President wants to make sure their families know they remain front of mind and that his team is working on this every day,” an official told CNN.

The Associated Press was first to report on the meeting.

Some background: The families of Whelan, who has been held by Russia for alleged espionage since 2018, and WNBA star Griner, jailed in Moscow for alleged drug possession since February, have urged the White House to secure their release, including via a prisoner exchange if necessary.

Where do things stand? Progress bringing either American home has been hard to come by. A senior Biden administration official told CNN Thursday that there has been “movement but not breakthrough” in the talks. The official said Russia is making demands the state department can’t deliver on.

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