Brittney Griner returns to U.S. after launch from Russia

Brittney Griner returned to the USA early Friday after being freed in a high-profile prisoner trade following practically 10 months in detention in Russia.

Griner was seen getting off a airplane that landed Friday at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in Texas.

U.S. officers stated Thursday that she could be supplied specialised medical providers and counseling upon her return however declined to enter specifics, citing privateness considerations.

Griner had been detained in Russia for practically 10 months. She was exchanged for infamous arms vendor Viktor Bout on Thursday.

The trade, made at a time of heightened tensions over the invasion of Ukraine, achieved a high purpose for President Joe Biden however carried a heavy worth and left behind Paul Whelan, an American jailed for practically 4 years in Russia.

In an handle from the White Home on Thursday, Biden, who had spoken to Griner on the telephone, stated that these “past few months have been hell for Brittney” however that she was in good spirits.

“This is a day we’ve worked toward for a long time,” Biden stated. “We never stopped pushing for her release. It took painstaking and intense negotiations, and I want to thank all the hardworking public servants across my administration who worked tirelessly to secure her release.”

Cherelle Griner additionally spoke on the White Home and thanked plenty of individuals who helped safe her spouse’s launch.

“Today, my family is whole, but as you all are aware, there are so many other families who are not whole,” Cherelle Griner stated. “BG and I will remain committed to the work of getting every American home, including Paul, whose family is in our hearts today as we celebrate BG being home.”

Griner was arrested at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport in February when customs officers discovered vape canisters with hashish oil in her baggage. She pleaded responsible in July however nonetheless confronted a trial as a result of admitting guilt in Russia’s judicial system doesn’t robotically finish a case. She was sentenced to 9 years and had been transferred to a penal colony in November.

She acknowledged in courtroom that she possessed the canisters however stated that she had no felony intent and that their presence in her baggage was because of hasty packing.

The U.S. State Division had declared Griner to be “wrongfully detained” — a cost Russia sharply rejected.

In releasing Bout, the U.S. freed a former Soviet Military lieutenant colonel whom the Justice Division as soon as described as one of many world’s most prolific arms sellers. He was arrested in Thailand in 2008 and extradited to the U.S. in 2010.

Bout was serving a 25-year sentence on fees that he conspired to promote tens of hundreds of thousands of {dollars} in weapons that U.S officers stated have been for use in opposition to Individuals.

The Related Press contributed to this report.