Brittney Griner Was Released by Russia in Prison Swap. Here's What to Know
After nearly 10 months being held in Russia, Brittney Griner was released from captivity on Thursday, Dec. 8. The American WNBA star was freed as part of a swap; President Joe Biden agreed to release imprisoned Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout in order to bring Griner home. © Getty / Mike Mattina Brittney Griner Was Released by Russia in Prison Swap. Here's What to Know In a tweet posted on Thursday morning, President Biden said, "Moments ago I spoke to Brittney Griner. She is safe. She is on a plane. She is on her way home.
© Provided by The Spun US WNBA basketball superstar Brittney Griner sits inside a defendants' cage before a hearing at the Khimki Court, outside Moscow on July 27, 2022. - Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medallist and WNBA champion, was detained at Moscow airport in February on charges of carrying in her luggage vape cartridges with cannabis oil, which could carry a 10-year prison sentence. (Photo by Alexander Zemlianichenko / POOL / AFP) (Photo by ALEXANDER ZEMLIANICHENKO/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) ALEXANDER ZEMLIANICHENKO/Getty Images
Earlier Thursday morning, the United States reached an agreement with Russian on a prisoner swap to bring Brittney Griner home.
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The WNBA superstar has been imprisoned in Russia since February following her arrest for having cannabis oil at a Russian airport. While the sports world celebrated her release, they were also thinking about Paul Whelan.
The Marine has been in a Russian prison for four years, but wasn't part of the prisoner swap. Naturally, Republican politicians weren't happy with President Joe Biden leaving Whelan in Russia.
Rep. Mark Green, R-Tenn., called out Biden for his "weakness" and suggested it sends a "shameful" message to the U.S. military after failing to bring Whelan home.
Here's what Green said, via Fox News:
"The real problem here is just the weakness of this president," Green told Bill Hemmer and Dana Perino. "We've got a Marine sitting over there. We traded this merchant of death guy who was going to target U.S. military personnel. And so what is the message we're sending to the people serving in our military, or who might one day serve?"
It's a no-win situation for Biden when it comes to the Republican party, so this isn't too surprising.
However, there are legitimate gripes when trading a Russian arms dealer.
Brittney Griner speaks out for 1st time since release from Russian prison .
Brittney Griner shared plenty of thank yous in her first statement since returning home from Russia, and outlined plans for the future of her basketball career.The U.S. basketball star posted a lengthy statement to her Instagram Friday, thanking the WNBA, the Biden administration and her family for helping her get back to American soil.