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WNBA star Brittney Griner freed from Russian prison

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President Biden has announced that WNBA star Brittney Griner has been released from a Russian prison.

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

Griner was swapped for convicted Russian arms trader Viktor Bout, according to a press release from Russia’s Foreign Ministry.

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“The exchange took place at an airport in Abu-Dhabi on December 8th 2022 for Russian citizen Victor Bout and U.S. citizen Britney Griner, both of whom were serving out sentences in prisons in the United States and Russia respectively,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

The statement said that Russia had tried “over the course of a long period of time” to secure Bout’s release, but “Washington categorically refused dialogue.”

“As a result of intense efforts, we managed to agree with the American side on organization of an exchange of Bout for Griner,” the statement said. “The Russian citizen has been returned to his homeland.”

Brittney Griner was sentenced to nine years in prison by a Russian court last August for bringing less than a gram of hash oil into Russia when she arrived in February to play in the Russian women’s professional basketball league.

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