(NBC News) — Russian President Vladimir Putin’s top spokesman gave no indication Monday that WNBA star Brittney Griner will be released soon by Russian authorities who say they found hashish oil in her luggage.
In an exclusive interview with NBC News’ Keir Simmons, the spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, disputed the State Department’s position that Griner is a Russian hostage.
Griner, he said, was no different from “hundreds and hundreds of Russian citizens that were sentenced for carrying hashish.”
“Why should we make an exemption for a foreign citizen?” he added.
Griner, 31, was detained in February after she landed in Moscow; authorities said a search of her bag revealed vape cartridges containing hashish oil, a derivative of cannabis. The offense could carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison in Russia.