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Brittney Griner Released From Russian Jail in Prisoner Exchange

Griner was being held in a Russian penal colony.

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Russia has freed U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner in a prisoner exchange for arms dealer Viktor Bout, who was in a U.S. jail for 12 years.

Griner is a two-time Olympic gold medalist. She was arrested at a Moscow airport in February for possessing cannabis oil and has been kept in a penal colony.

President Joe Biden said on Twitter that he had spoken to Griner. “She is safe. She is on a plane. She is on her way home,” he said.

The release is a sign of active diplomacy between the U.S. and Russia and may raise hopes for a way forward. Russia invaded Ukraine in February and continues to occupy parts of the country.

The one-for-one prisoner exchange also freed Bout, who traded weapons in the tumultuous years after the fall of the Soviet Union. For a while he was one of the world’s most wanted men. He was captured in a U.S. sting in Bangkok in 2008 and extradited to the U.S. two years later.

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