Russia and U.S. to keep discussing prisoner swaps - deputy foreign minister

FILE PHOTO: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov meets with his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian in Moscow

(Reuters) - Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Friday that Russia and the United States would continue to talk about possible prisoner swaps directly, without intermediaries, the RIA Novosti news agency reported.

Ryabkov also said, according to the Interfax news agency, that Russia would "communicate with all partners who show interest in this", including Bill Richardson, former governor of the U.S. state of New Mexico.

Richardson had travelled to Moscow in a private capacity in an effort to win the release of American basketball player Brittney Griner, who was freed from a Russian prison on Thursday in exchange for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.

U.S. President Joe Biden said on Thursday that Washington remained committed to securing the return of imprisoned former marine Paul Whelan - whose release Richardson had also lobbied for in Moscow.

(Reporting by Reuters; Editing by Kevin Liffey)