Two-time Olympic gold medallist Brittney Griner of the United States is set to remain in detention in Russia until at least July 2 ©Getty Images

American basketball player Brittney Griner has had her pre-trial detention in Russia extended for a further 18 days.

The two-time Olympic gold medallist was arrested at an airport near Moscow in February shortly prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, accused of being in possession of vape cartridges containing hashish oil.

Russia's official state news agency TASS reported that a representative of the Khimki Court of the Moscow Region said her detention has been extended until at least July 2 at "the request of the investigation".

This follows an extension imposed last month until Saturday (June 18).

The charge reportedly carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

The United States Government considers Griner "wrongfully detained", while Russian authorities have suggested that she was "caught red-handed while trying to smuggle hash oil".

Griner travelled to Russia to play for UMMC Ekaterinburg of the Russian Premier League during the WNBA closed season.

She has represented Russia's leading club team since 2014.

US State Department spokesperson Ned Price has said that Griner should be released.

"Our position for some time on this has been very clear," Price said, as reported by the American Broadcasting Company.

"Brittney Griner should not be detained.

"She should not be detained for a single day longer."

US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said Brittney Griner
US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said Brittney Griner "should not be detained for a single day longer" ©Getty Images

Griner represents Phoenix Mercury in the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA), whose players, coaches and staff as well as WNBA Players Association representatives met with State Department officials to discuss the case on Monday (June 13).

"I'm confident in the State Department and the work that they're doing," said five-time Olympic gold medallist and Griner team-mate Diana Taurasi.

"They encouraged us to keep speaking her name, to keep holding them accountable.

"We're here to do whatever we can to amplify and keep BG [Brittney Griner] at the forefront, which is more important than any basketball game and anything else that's going on in our lives.

"We want BG to come home as soon as possible.

"It's number one on our list."

The WNBA has added "BG42" to the floors of all 12 teams' courts this season.

The basketball star's partner Cherelle Griner has called on US President Joe Biden to use his influence to secure her release.

Griner is able to communicate with family members and WNBA players through email, subject to messages being vetted by Russian officials before being printed out and delivered in bundles by her lawyer.

She cannot directly access the email account, so has been responded through written responses photographed by her lawyers or by dictating the response.

The 31-year-old was a member of the US women's basketball team which triumphed at Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020.

She also claimed gold at the International Basketball Federation World Cup in 2014 and 2018, and is the only woman in US college history to score 2,000 points and block 500 shots.

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach has said has the case is in the hands of the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee and the WNBA, and that the IOC had not been contacted about it.