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Brittney Griner to land in San Antonio after release in prisoner swap

President Biden spoke alongside Vice President Harris and Brittney Griner’s wife, Cherelle, on Dec. 8, announcing Russia had freed WNBA star in a prisoner swap. (Video: The Washington Post)

WNBA star Brittney Griner has been released from Russian detention and is expected to land in San Antonio, a military official with knowledge of the effort told The Washington Post.

After her arrival, Griner will be taken to a medical facility in San Antonio where she will receive care and will be reunited with her wife, Cherelle Griner, and her parents, a senior administration official told CNBC on Thursday.

Moscow released the athlete in a swap for convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, according to two senior administration officials and a separate statement from Russia’s Foreign Ministry. Biden approved the release of Bout more than a decade after his conviction, commuting his 25-year prison sentence.

Here’s what to know

  • Griner will be on U.S. soil “within 24 hours,” Biden said Thursday morning. He thanked administration officials and the United Arab Emirates for helping to facilitate Griner’s return. “This is a day we’ve worked toward for a long time,” he said.
  • Bout arrived in Moscow late Thursday, Russian state-backed news outlets reported.
  • In a phone interview with CNN from the remote penal colony where he is being detained, Whelan said he was “greatly disappointed” that the Biden administration has not done more to secure his release.
  • In a cinematic moment captured on video, shared by Russian state media, Griner and Bout can be seen passing each other on the runway of an airport in the United Arab Emirates, where the exchange took place.
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Here's what to know:

Griner will be on U.S. soil “within 24 hours,” Biden said Thursday morning. He thanked administration officials and the United Arab Emirates for helping to facilitate Griner’s return. “This is a day we’ve worked toward for a long time,” he said.
Bout arrived in Moscow late Thursday, Russian state-backed news outlets reported.
In a phone interview with CNN from the remote penal colony where he is being detained, Whelan said he was “greatly disappointed” that the Biden administration has not done more to secure his release.
In a cinematic moment captured on video, shared by Russian state media, Griner and Bout can be seen passing each other on the runway of an airport in the United Arab Emirates, where the exchange took place.

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Brittney Griner released from Russian prison

The latest: WNBA star Brittney Griner landed in the United States around 5:30 a.m. ET Friday in San Antonio.

Prisoner trade deal: Her release was part of a prisoner swap for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout. Nicknamed the “merchant of death,” Bout is a notorious arms dealer and has been in U.S. custody since his arrest in Thailand in 2008. It’s unclear why Moscow officials were so eager to bring him home.

Why was Griner detained?: Griner had been imprisoned in Russia since February, when she was accused of entering the country with vape cartridges that contained less than a gram of cannabis oil, which is illegal in the country.

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