Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied Monday that U.S. basketball player Brittney Griner is a hostage of the Russian justice system.

"We can't call him a hostage - why should we call him a hostage? She violated Russian law.

Now she is being criminally prosecuted," Peskov said in an interview with MSNBC channel.

Kermlin's stance

Peskov denied that with Griner's remand imprisonment Russia is sending a "horrible message" to the world.

In the presidential spokesman's opinion, what is a horrible message is "the attempt to bring banned substances into the country."

"She is being prosecuted under Russian law. It is not only in Russia that there are such severe laws in that area.

There are many countries to which you can't bring drugs. That is prosecuted under the law. And we can't do anything about it," he added.

The Russian judiciary extended for another 18 days the precautionary measure against Griner, who has been in a Moscow remand prison for almost four months.

Griner, who has been playing for the Russian team since 2015, could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison, as it is forbidden by law in Russia to enter the country with cannabis.