According to multiple reports, Brittney Griner was released from Russian custody after a prisoner exchange. After nearly a year of being detained by the Russian government, the WNBA star will finally be headed home to her family. United States President Joe Biden made the official announcement on Thursday morning. The United States exchanged Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout who had served 11 years in a 25-year sentence. This exchange notably did not include Paul Whelan who has been detained in Russia since 2018 for alleged espionage. Griner was detained back in February and is now coming home.
Moments ago I spoke to Brittney Griner.
She is safe.
She is on a plane.
She is on her way home. pic.twitter.com/FmHgfzrcDT
— President Biden (@POTUS) December 8, 2022
When asked about Paul Whelan, President Joe Biden said the following: “Russia is treating Paul’s case differently than Brittney’s, and while we have not yet succeeded in securing Paul’s release we are not giving up. We will never give up.” The United State position on the matter is it was not a choice of getting both home, but getting Griner or no one home at this time. They have committed to continue working on getting Whelan home. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken was quoted saying the following about that: “This was not a choice of which American to bring home. The choice was one or none.”
She’s on her way. pic.twitter.com/A673zRoNLL
— Phoenix Mercury (@PhoenixMercury) December 8, 2022
The family, teammates, friends, and fans of Griner are elated at this time to finally have her headed home after nearly 300 days in Russian custody. She is expected to land back in the United States later today where she can begin recovering with her family. We here at Def Pen are happy to report that Brittney Griner is finally headed home.