The Russian government, however, pushed back on assertions made by the U.S. that Griner’s detention in the state-capitalist nation is “illegal,” according to The Independent.
On Thursday, Russian authorities issued a statement to CNN that said Griner’s detention was based on “objective facts and evidence.”
“She was caught red-handed while trying to smuggle hash oil,” Russia’s foreign minister said, CNN reports. “In Russia, this is a crime.”
Griner was apprehended at a Moscow-area airport after the Russian Federal Customs Service officials allegedly discovered vape cartridges containing cannabis oil in her luggage. She faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison if found guilty of the charges.
Russians leaders have been persistent in alleging that the tense political relations with the United States are not a catalyst for Griner’s criminal case.