State Watch

Brittney Griner touches down in Texas

Brittney Griner
AP/Eric Gay
WNBA star Brittney Griner deplanes at Kelly Field in San Antonio, Texas, following her release in a prisoner swap with Russia, Friday, Dec. 9, 2022. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

WNBA player Brittney Griner landed in San Antonio on Friday after a U.S.-Russia prisoner swap ended her 10 months of detention in the foreign country.

Griner’s flight from Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, where the exchange between herself and convicted Russian arms smuggler Viktor Bout took place, touched down in her home state early in the morning.

“So happy to have Brittney back on U.S. soil. Welcome home BG!” wrote U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs Roger D. Carstens on Twitter.

The two-time Olympic gold medalist will receive treatment, including counseling services, at a military medical facility in San Antonio.

Bout, who was serving a 25-year sentence for conspiracy to kill Americans, among other charges, landed in Russia on Thursday.

President Biden announced Griner’s impending release on Thursday following a phone call with the then-imprisoned basketball star.

“After months of being unjustly detained in Russia, held under intolerable circumstances, Brittney will soon be back in the arms of her loved ones, and she should’ve been there all along,” Biden said.

Griner was first detained in Russia in February for illegally carrying vape cartridges containing hashish oil in her luggage and later sentenced to nine years in prison for ambiguous reasons.

Three other Americans remain imprisoned in Russia, including wrongful detainee Paul Whelan.

The former U.S. Marine, arrested in 2018 on espionage charges, said on Thursday that he was “greatly disappointed” by the lack of effort put into securing his release.

Tags Biden Brittney Griner Griner Paul Whelan Prisoner swap San Antonio Texas Viktor Bout

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