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Griner is likely to face conviction in Ukraine

Brittany Griner will likely be convicted on Russian drug charges, and G20 finance leaders end meetings without Ukraine joint statement.



All indications lead to Brittney Griner being found guilty in Russia of narcotics offenses, which carries a potential 10-year term. Even before Griner entered a guilty “without intent” plea at her trial last week, it was very inevitable that she would be found guilty because less than 1% of trials in Russia result in acquittals.

However, neither her fans nor the US government, which has deemed her to have been “wrongfully arrested,” want to see the eight-time WNBA All-Star toil for years in a Russian penal colony.

We already know she will be found guilty; is there a way out? According to Rob Saale, a former FBI hostage-taker expert, USA TODAY Sports.

According to experts, that “exit strategy” will take the shape of a prisoner swap with Russia. In April, the United States exchanged Russian pilot and convicted drug trafficker Konstantin Yaroskenko for the release of former Marine Trevor Reed from a Russian prison. Reed was given a nine-year term for assault, but his family said that while in custody, he started having health issues.


According to Saale, who oversaw the U.S. Hostage Recovery Fusion Cell from 2017 to 2019, “there’s not a lot of leverage the U.S. can draw to compel the Russians to free her other than negotiating a deal and releasing someone that’s in our jail here.”

In Russia, Griner is currently on trial.

Potential for “Hostage diplomacy” Brittney Griner’s prisoner exchange with Russia is both risky and hopeful.


Additional developments

Although there has been no evidence of their misuse, a senior military official told reporters on Friday that the Pentagon will not track the weapons it transfers to Ukraine. According to the person, “We feel fairly confident that the Ukrainians are employing the weapons we have given them and have not observed any indicators that those weapons have gone anyplace else other than to fight against the Russians.”

According to the United Nations Refugee Agency, more than 9 million people have fled Ukraine since Russia’s initial invasion in February. Nearly 6 million people have fled Ukraine as refugees across Europe.

Agreement on astronaut ridesharing between NASA and Roscosmos


According to multiple sources, a long-awaited agreement allowing integrated flights to the International Space Station was reached on Friday between NASA and Russia’s Roscosmos.

Russian cosmonauts will be able to travel on commercial crew vehicles produced in the United States, while American astronauts will be able to go on Soyuz spacecraft. Russian cosmonauts will board at least two upcoming SpaceX missions, according to CNN, while the first of two distinct Russian rockets on which American astronauts will travel is scheduled to lift off in September.

According to Reuters, Roscosmos stated in a statement that the agreement “is in the interests of Russia and the United States and will support the expansion of collaboration within the scope of the ISS program,” adding that it will make it easier to “explore outer space for peaceful purposes.”

War in Ukraine casts a cloud over G20 finance meetings


Financial executives from the Group of 20, which includes the richest and largest economies in the world, concluded their conference on the Indonesian resort island of Bali without issuing a final common statement because disagreements about the conflict in Ukraine dominated the discussions.

As this year’s G-20 host, Indonesia has attempted to heal differences over Russia’s invasion, but despite agreement on the gravity of the economic difficulties facing the world, antagonism toward the conflict was still visible.

Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said when asked why there wasn’t a joint statement or communique from the meeting that it took place “in a very challenging and difficult situation because of the geopolitical issues.”

When USA TODAY contacted Yellen for comment, no one from her team responded right away.


White House: Iran is offering drones to Russia

On Saturday, the White House issued a warning that Russia is attempting to obtain “attack capability” unmanned aerial vehicles from Iran and claimed to have information indicating that Russian officials had visited an airport in central Iran at least twice to see the drones that might carry weapons.

“We estimate that a presentation of Iranian attack-capable UAVs was just given to an official Russian delegation. As reported by the Associated Press, “We are sharing these photos taken in June showing Iranian UAVs that the Russian official group witnessed that day. This indicates that Russia may still be interested in buying UAVs with Iranian attack capabilities.

CNN was the one who initially acquired the photographs. According to the White House, Russian officials saw the drones on June 8 and July 15 at Kashan Airfield.


Assistance from abroad: A US telemedicine system provides Ukraine’s medical professionals with free consultations.

Russia escalates its airstrikes on civilians Saturday

On Saturday, Russia intensified its assault on Ukraine, with reports of civilian casualties in various parts of the nation.

A local police commander reported that an early-morning Russian rocket attack on Chuhuiv in northern Ukraine resulted in at least three civilian deaths and three further injuries. According to regional governor Dmytro Zhyvytsky on Telegram on Saturday morning, Russians started mortar and artillery fire on three towns and villages close to the Russian border, resulting in one civilian death and at least seven further injuries.


The governor of Ukraine’s troubled eastern Donetsk region announced on Saturday morning that seven civilians had been killed and 14 more had been injured in the previous 24 hours in the territory’s cities.

According to a Telegram post by Vitaliy Kim, the regional governor for southern Ukraine, two persons were hurt by Russian shelling in the village of Bashtanka, which is northeast of the Black Sea city of Mykolaiv.

However, according to Serhiy Haidai, the governor of the Luhansk area, Ukrainian forces thwarted a Russian attack on a vital eastern route during the course of the night. For “more than two months,” according to Haidai, Russia has been seeking to seize control of the main road connecting the cities of Lysychansk and Bakhmut.

Giving back: Associated Press


Originally published on USA TODAY, this article says: Live updates from Ukraine: G20 finance leaders disagree on the war, and Griner is sure to be found guilty.