December 08, (THEWILL) – American basketballer, Brittney Griner, has been freed in a prisoner swap with Russia, according to US officials on Thursday.
The US gave up Viktor Bout, a renowned Russian arms dealer, in exchange for Griner’s release after US President, Joe Biden, who is scheduled to make an address later on Thursday, made Griner’s release one of his main priorities.
Officials involved in the process assured that Griner was in “good spirits” and had already had phone conversations with Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. Biden also gave assurances of her safety in a Twitter post that read: “She is safe. She is on a plane. She is on her way home.”
THEWILL recalls that on February 17, Griner was detained at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport on suspicion of having vape cartridges purportedly containing cannabis oil in her luggage. She received a nine-year prison term.
Her lengthy sentence was perceived as contributing to the tense atmosphere existing between Russia and the US as a result of the conflict in Ukraine as negotiations for her release veered into the possibility of a swap. According to the RIA news agency, the prisoner swap has been confirmed by the Russian Foreign Ministry.