US President Joe Biden announced on Thursday, December 8, that basketball player Brittney Griner was returning to the US after a prisoner-swap deal with Russia.
“She’s safe, she’s on a plane, she’s on her way home after months of being unjustly detained in Russia, held under intolerable circumstances. Brittney will soon be back in her loved ones,” Biden said.
He thanked the UAE for the country’s help in transferring Griner back to the US.
Brittney’s wife, Cherelle Griner, spoke to thank the members of the government who had helped secure the swap. She also paid tribute to Paul Whelan, a retired Marine who has been imprisoned in Russia for four years on espionage charges.
Griner was swapped for international arms dealer Viktor Bout, who had been serving a minimum 25 years’ imprisonment at a penitentiary in Illinois.
Griner had been detained since February on drug charges.
The swap was completed on Thursday in the United Arab Emirates, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia said. Credit: The White House via Storyful