WNBA star Brittney Griner is free Thursday after the Biden administration negotiated her release from a Russian penal colony in exchange for an arms dealer.
Russia freed WNBA star Brittney Griner on Thursday in a dramatic high-level prisoner exchange, with the United States releasing notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.
The swap, at a time of heightened tensions over Ukraine, achieved a top goal for U.S. President Joe Biden, but carried a heavy price — and left behind an American jailed for nearly four years in Russia, Paul Whelan, who also holds Canadian citizenship.
Biden tweeted a photo from the White House with Griner’s spouse, Cherelle Griner, and then spoke about the development from the White House.
“Pretty soon she’ll back in the arms of her loved ones, and she should’ve been there all along,” said Biden.
Biden said Griner’s “relieved to finally be heading home,” after speaking by phone with her.
Cherelle Griner said she was “overwhelmed with emotions,” expressing gratitude to White House and U.S. State Department officials.