Brittney Griner may go to a Russian penal colony. Here’s what you need to know.

U.S. basketball player Brittney Griner before the Russian court reached a verdict in her drug-smuggling case. (Evgenia Novozhenina/Pool/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

WNBA star Brittney Griner received a harsh 9½-year prison sentence Thursday in her trial on drug charges in Moscow, close to the maximum term possible.

The basketball star’s attorneys plan to appeal, as the Biden administration urges Moscow to accept a deal to free Griner and former security consultant Paul Whelan, an American serving a 16-year sentence in Russia. Washington has declined to say whether the two could be released in exchange for imprisoned Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.

If diplomatic efforts or the appeal fail, Griner could be sent to a penal colony, a Russian prison facility known for brutal conditions.

Here’s what to know.

War in Ukraine: What you need to know

The latest: Russian President Vladimir Putin signed decrees Friday to annex four occupied regions of Ukraine, following staged referendums that were widely denounced as illegal. Follow our live updates here.

The response: The Biden administration on Friday announced a new round of sanctions on Russia, in response to the annexations, targeting government officials and family members, Russian and Belarusian military officials and defense procurement networks. President Volodymyr Zelensky also said Friday that Ukraine is applying for “accelerated ascension” into NATO, in an apparent answer to the annexations.

In Russia: Putin declared a military mobilization on Sept. 21 to call up as many as 300,000 reservists in a dramatic bid to reverse setbacks in his war on Ukraine. The announcement led to an exodus of more than 180,000 people, mostly men who were subject to service, and renewed protests and other acts of defiance against the war.

The fight: Ukraine mounted a successful counteroffensive that forced a major Russian retreat in the northeastern Kharkiv region in early September, as troops fled cities and villages they had occupied since the early days of the war and abandoned large amounts of military equipment.

Photos: Washington Post photographers have been on the ground from the beginning of the war — here’s some of their most powerful work.

How you can help: Here are ways those in the U.S. can support the Ukrainian people as well as what people around the world have been donating.

Read our full coverage of the Russia-Ukraine war. Are you on Telegram? Subscribe to our channel for updates and exclusive video.

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