AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko

Russia has admitted that it is in talks with the U.S. to exchange convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout for basketball player Brittney Griner, a Russian diplomat said.

“The discussions on the very sensitive topic of an exchange are proceeding via the channels chosen by our presidents,” Alexander Datchiev, the head of the North America department at the Russian Foreign Ministry, was quoted as saying by state news agency TASS. “Silent diplomacy continues and should bear fruit if Washington, of course, is careful not to fall into propaganda.”