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Watch: WNBA Celebrity Brittney Griner released in prisoner swap between U.S. and Russia

Rev. Amanda Hambrick Ashcraft, right-foreground, speaks at a vigil for Brittney Griner held outside the Consulate-General of Russia in New York City.. Shutterstock/Ben Von Klemperer

On Thursday, Brittney Griner, celebrity star of the WNBA was freed from prison, according to President Joe Biden as well as her wife Cherelle Griner.. She was released in a prison swap with Russia. Speaking from the White House, President Joe Biden announced that she had been freed. Griner’s wife also spoke after Biden. The exchange took place at the United Arab Emirates. She had been imprisoned on drug charges as her luggage contained vape canisters with cannabis oil, and this was found by Russian authorities.

The exchange of Russian national Viktor Bout for American national Brittney Griner was successfully finished on December 8, 2022, according to a statement from the foreign ministry. The US first “refused conversation” on include Bout in any swap, according to Moscow, which claimed that it had been in talks with Washington “for a long time” to obtain Bout’s release. “However, the Russian Federation kept making efforts to save our colleague. The Russian national has been brought back to his country, according to the defense ministry.

Russian arms trader Viktor Anatolyevich Bout is from Russia. Entrepreneur and former Soviet military interpreter, he utilized his several businesses to transport weapons from Eastern Europe to Africa and the Middle East in the 1990s and early 2000s after the fall of the Soviet Union.



President Biden said that Griner was “safe, on a plane” and “on her way home.” He added that she would soon be with her loved ones and that he was proud that they “made one more family whole.” He also added that he guaranteed that they would continue to negotiate for the release of Paul Whelan, an American citizen and former U.S. Marine who has been imprisoned for allegedly spying on Russia.


Brittney Griner will be flown to San Antonio to receive care. Her wife Cherelle Griner will meet her at the city, according to a senior official, who also said that Cherelle Griner and Biden had spoken to Brittney, earlier in the Oval Office.

This has been one of the most high profile prisoner swaps since the Cold War. Kremlin saw the return of arms dealer Viktor Bout to Russia while Washington got back Brittney Griner from Moscow. Bout had served 11 years of a 25-year sentence, in a U.S. prison.

Russia’s foreign ministry confirmed that the prisoner swap had taken place at the Abu Dhabi airport, in the U.A.E. Their statement said that “The Russian citizen has been returned to his homeland,” while Russian news agencies said he was en route to Moscow.




White House 

The 32-year old basketball player is one of the most well known sportswomen, in America. Brittney Grimes is a double Olympic champion and a star center for WNBA team Phoenix Mercury. She used to play in Russia, during the U.S. offseason. She said that she made an “honest mistake” by taking the vape vials in her luggage. She also had a doctor’s statement saying that the cannabis was for medical use.

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Will Brittney Griner be released?

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