Brittney Griner in ‘good condition’ in Russia as US granted access to basketball star

US officials have visited basketball star Brittney Griner for the first time since she was arrested in Russia on drug charges.

State Department spokesman Ned Price said the athlete was in “good condition” when an official from the US Embassy visited her on Wednesday.

"Within the past couple hours, an official from our embassy has been granted consular access to Brittney Griner," Mr Price told CNN.

"We were able to check on her condition. We will continue to work very closely with her legal team, with her broader network to see to it that she is treated fairly. That is a message we will continue to convey in no uncertain terms to the Russian Federation."

Consular officials visited Griner after the US’s ambassador to Russia, John Sullivan, was summoned to Russia’s Foreign Ministry on Monday.

He delivered a "candid message" that the US expects to have consular access to citizens in pre-trial detention, Mr Sullivan said.

Griner will remain under pre-trial arrest for at least two more months after a court granted an extension for investigators until 19 May, according to Russia’s state news agency.

The 31-year-old WNBA star was detained by Russian Federal Customs Service at an airport near Moscow in February charges of smuggling drugs, reported to be cannabis oil used in vape pens.

WNBA star Brittney Griner appearing in a photo released by Russian officials following her detainment in Moscow. Ms Griner is accused by Russian law enforcement of trying to transport drugs. (screengrab)
WNBA star Brittney Griner appearing in a photo released by Russian officials following her detainment in Moscow. Ms Griner is accused by Russian law enforcement of trying to transport drugs. (screengrab)

The human rights group Public Monitoring Commission previously said the US consul had not come to visit Griner for “unknown reasons”.

“Although the administration of the pre-trial detention centre is ready to create all conditions for a visit,” group member Ekaterina Kalugina told Russian state media TASS.

Ms Kalugina previously visited Griner and said she had no complaints sharing a cell with two other prisoners at a detention centre in Khimki City, about 14 miles northwest of downtown Moscow.

"The only objective problem was the height of the basketball player—203 centimetres," TASS quoted the activist. "The beds in the cell are clearly designed for a shorter person."

The two-time gold medalist and Phoenix Mercury star was playing for Russia’s UMMC Ekaterinburg when Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine.