U.S. in 'constant contact' with Russia about Griner, Biden says

WASHINGTON, Oct 25 (Reuters) - The United States is in "constant contact" with Moscow about Brittney Griner, the U.S. WNBA basketball star being held in Russia, President Joe Biden said on Tuesday, after her appeal against a nine-year sentence for drug smuggling was denied.

"We're in constant contact with Russian authorities to get Brittany and others out. So far we've not been meeting with much positive response but we're not stopping," he said.

U.S. basketball player Brittney Griner appears on a screen via video link from the detention centre during a court hearing to consider an appeal against her prison sentence, in Krasnogorsk, Moscow Region, Russia October 25, 2022. REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina

Biden also warned Moscow against using a nuclear weapon, after Russia told the United Nations that it believed Ukraine was planning a "dirty bomb," an allegation Western officials have dismissed.

"Russia would be making an incredibly serious mistake for it use a tactical nuclear weapon. I'm not guaranteeing you that it's a false flag operation yet, we don't know. But it would be a serious mistake," Biden said.

Reporting by Jeff Mason and Chris Gallagher; Editing by Mark Porter and Marguerita Choy

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