• The Kremlin wants prisoner-swap negotiations for Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan to be "discreet." 
  • Russian spokesman Dmitry Peskov warned that "megaphone diplomacy" from the US "will not lead to results." 
  • The Biden Administration has offered to trade arms dealer Viktor Bout for the detained Americans. 

The Kremlin wants prisoner-swap negotiations with the US for detained prisoners Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan to be "discreet," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call Tuesday, according to Reuters

"We still believe that any exchanges of information on this topic should be discreet," Peskov said, according to Reuters. 

In July, the Biden Administration reportedly offered to free notorious convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout in exchange for the release of both Griner — a WNBA star — and Whelan — a former Marine. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken confirmed that a deal had been offered last week but didn't go into details.

Reuters reported on Tuesday that Peskov was surprised at Blinken's public comments. 

"Any exchange of information on the subject should be discreet without any 'loudspeaker diplomacy,' " he told reporters, according to the Associated Press. "Public exchange of positions will not yield any result."

Since the initial trade offer, Russia has countered: In addition to Bout, they want the US to help free an additional convict — a murderer who was tried, sentenced, and imprisoned in Germany. 

John Kirby, the Biden administration's National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications, called the Kremlin's counteroffer "a bad faith attempt to avoid a very serious offer and proposal that the United States has put forward."

"Holding two American citizens hostage in exchange for an assassin in a third-party country is not a serious counteroffer," Kirby said, adding: "We urge Russia to take [our] offer seriously."

Griner's trial in Russia continued on Tuesday with her defense team attempting to undermine the validity of the tests Russia performed on the vape cartridges that were found in her luggage, according to CNN

The trial could come to a close as soon as Friday with a sentence following shortly after, Reuters reported. Griner's lawyer said the star basketball player is nervous.

She "still knows that the end is near, and of course, she heard the news so she's hoping that sometime she could be coming home, and we hope, too," Griner's lawyer said on Tuesday, CNN reported.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

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