WNBA star Brittney Griner has been released from Russian detention in a prisoner swap for arms dealer Viktor Bout, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said Thursday and two senior Biden administration officials told The Washington Post. “Moments ago I spoke to Brittney Griner,” President Biden tweeted Thursday. He approved the release of Bout for Griner, commuting his 25-year prison sentence, a senior Biden administation official told The Post.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was a “brutal wake-up” for Europe, which lacks the capabilities needed to defend itself from “higher level threats,” European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said Thursday. “We lack critical defense capabilities,” Borrell said, adding that Europe’s military stockpiles have been “quickly depleted” amid the conflict and blaming underinvestment for Europe’s vulnerabilities.
Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe.
4. From our correspondents
As Ukraine and Russia step up prisoner exchanges, scarred POWs tell of abuse: Among the 60 prisoners of war who arrived on Ukrainian soil on Tuesday afternoon, many were so malnourished during Russian captivity that they would be unable to digest more than 300 milliliters of chicken soup, or about 20 tablespoons, according to the director of a hospital treating them in northeast Ukraine.
They were supposed to be protected by the Geneva Conventions, which require humane treatment. But the prisoners’ physical condition — protruding shoulder blades and ribs, bandaged limbs, long scars — bore evidence of abuse from their months of imprisonment, in addition to injuries from combat, Jeff Stein and Kostiantyn Khudov report for The Washington Post in northeastern Ukraine.
“Tasers, currents — they beat us with clubs; they beat us with sticks. I said goodbye to my life there more than once,” said one Ukrainian fighter.
Miriam Berger in Washington and Natalia Abbakumova and Mary Ilyushina in Riga, Latvia, contributed to this report.