Greener’s wife says the scheduled call never happened

WASHINGTON – WNBA star Britney Greener tried to call his wife almost ten times through the US Embassy in Russia on Saturday for the fourth anniversary of the couple, but they never connected because the phone line at the embassy was not employed, said Cheryl Greener on Monday.

The couple has not spoken on the phone for four months since Greener’s arrest in Russia over drug charges. That was supposed to change on Saturday, when the long-awaited call was finally supposed to happen. But the day came and went without any contact, leaving the upset Sherel Greener to wonder what went wrong and to suspect that the Russian authorities had thwarted the call.

On Monday, she said she learned one disturbing truth from her husband’s lawyer: Britney Greener actually tried to call 11 times in a matter of hours, dialing a number she received at the US Embassy in Moscow, which couple told him she would then connect the call with Cheryl Greener in Phoenix. But each time, the call went unanswered because the desk at the embassy where the phone rang on Saturday was apparently without staff.

“I was distraught. I was hurt. I’m done, I’ve had enough,” Sherel Greenner said in an interview with the Associated Press, recounting how she spent the anniversary she eagerly awaited instead in tears. “I’m pretty sure I sent a message to a BG agent and said, ‘I don’t want to talk to anyone.’ It will take me a minute to gather my emotions and just tell everyone that I am currently unavailable. Because he just knocked me out. I wasn’t good, I’m still not good. “

The State Department said Monday that “we deeply regret that Britney Greener was unable to speak with her husband due to a logistical error.”

For Sherel Greener, this experience further exacerbated the already fading frustration over the U.S. government’s response to her wife’s case. U.S. officials have repeatedly said that they are working behind the scenes to bring the double Olympian back home from Russia, and that they consider her case a top priority. But Sherel Greener said that she is still “very angry” because of Saturday’s temptations, especially because the call was scheduled for two weeks, and that during that time no one warned her that it could be logistically impossible due to the weekend.

She added: “I think that is unacceptable and at the moment I do not have any trust in our government. If I can’t trust you to catch Saturday’s call out of business hours, how can I believe you’re actually negotiating on behalf of my wife to come home? Because it’s a much bigger request than catching a call on Saturday. “

Sherel Greener said that her contact in the American government apologized for the mistake. She said she has since learned that one number Britney Greenner said she chooses usually handles inmates’ calls from Monday to Friday, but not on weekends.

“But keep in mind,” Cherelle Griner said in an interview, “this phone call was scheduled for almost two weeks – with a weekend date.”

She added: “I think that is unacceptable and at the moment I do not have any trust in our government. If I can’t trust you to catch Saturday’s call out of business hours, how can I believe you’re actually negotiating on behalf of my wife to come home? Because it’s a much bigger request than catching a call on Saturday. “

Sherel Greener said that she still hopes to talk or meet with President Joe Biden, but “at this moment, she is starting to feel like she doesn’t.”

Britney Greener, a seven-time WNBA All-Star tennis player who plays for Phoenix Mercury, was detained at the Russian airport on February 17 after the authorities there said that a search of her bag revealed cartridges for vape containing cannabis oil.

The State Department declared her illegally detained in May, moving her case under the supervision of its special presidential envoy for hostage issues, in fact the government’s chief hostage negotiator. Russia’s state news agency Tass reported last week that her detention had been extended until July 3.

Sherel Greener says that she had to rely exclusively on the assessments of others about her wife’s condition. Lawyers and consular officers could talk to the basketball star, but her wife did not.

The night before the call, she went to bed at 5 pm to be awake and ready at midnight to receive the expected call from Russia to Phoenix, which never arrived.

“This was such a big moment because this would be the first time I could really say if she is okay,” said Cheryl Greener. “This would be the first time for me to hear it in real time and really know if it’s good or if I know if it’s a few seconds away from no longer existing.

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