Update (0934 EST): The Saudi Foreign Ministry has released a statement confirming the role of Crown prince Mohammad bin Salman and UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed in the prisoner exchange.
— ????? ???????? ?? (@KSAMOFA) December 8, 2022
Update (0820 EST): President Biden has published these photos showing himself, the Vice President, and Brittney Griner’s wife, Cherelle Griner in the Oval Office, on the phone with Brittney who is on a plane home.
Moments ago I spoke to Brittney Griner.
She is safe.
She is on a plane.
She is on her way home. pic.twitter.com/FmHgfzrcDT
— President Biden (@POTUS) December 8, 2022
According to CBS News, WNBA player and American citizen Brittney Griner has been freed in a prisoner swap for Russian arms dealer Victor Bout. U.S. President Biden is to update the nation in an address at 0830 EST, he supposedly spoke to Mrs. Griner over the phone since she is reportedly expected to undergo medical evaluation for an unreported ailment.
The Russian Foreign Ministry has confirmed the prisoner swap via Russian-state owned media.
BREAKING: CBS News has learned that the Biden administration has reached an agreement w/ Russia to secure the release of WNBA star Brittney Griner in exchange for convicted arms dealer Victor Bout. The exchange just took place and Griner is in US custody, per a US official.
— Nancy Cordes (@nancycordes) December 8, 2022
In February 2022, Griner was detained by Russian customs after cartridges containing hashish oil were found in her luggage, and later arrested on smuggling charges. She had been entering Russia to play with the Russian Premier League during the WNBA offseason. Her trial began on July 1, and she pleaded guilty to the charges. On August 4, she was sentenced to nine years in prison. In November 2022, Griner was transferred to the Russian penal colony IK-2.
Viktor Anatolyevich Bout is a Russian arms dealer. An entrepreneur and former Soviet military translator, he used his multiple air transport companies to smuggle weapons since the collapse of the Soviet Union from Eastern Europe to Africa and the Middle East during the 1990s and early 2000s. Bout gained the nicknames the Merchant of Death and Sanctions Buster.
In a US sting operation, Bout was arrested on 6 March 2008 in Thailand on terrorism charges by the Royal Thai Police in cooperation with American authorities and Interpol. (wiki)