Brittney Griner Freed In Prisoner Swap Of Russian Arms Dealer

WNBA star Brittney Griner released from Russian detention in prisoner swap for convicted arms dealer.

WNBA star Brittney Griner has been released from Russian detention in a prisoner swap for convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, President Joe Biden said Thursday.

“Moments ago I spoke to Brittney Griner,” Biden tweeted. “She is safe. She is on a plane. She is on her way home.”

The swap did not include another American that the State Department has declared wrongfully detained, Paul Whelan.

Biden is expected to speak at 8:30 a.m. ET, the White House said. Griner’s wife Cherelle is with the president at the White House, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Biden, a White House official tells CNN, “will speak to the importance of Brittney being brought home safely” in his remarks.

He is also expected to address Whelan and will reiterate the US “commitment to ensuring Paul Whelan comes home as well.”

Biden gave final approval for the prisoner swap freeing Griner over the past week, an official familiar with the matter said, adding that Biden was updated on the swap as it was taking place this morning.

He was briefed throughout the morning as he awaited confirmation that Griner was back in US hands, a US official says. Once that happened, Biden spoke with Griner from the Oval Office, with Griner’s wife Cherelle, Vice President Kamala Harris and Secretary of State Antony Blinken was also on the call, a second official said.