Listen Live

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - JULY 27: Brittney Griner in Russian court in M

On Thursday morning, President Joe Biden confirmed that WNBA All-Star Brittney Griner has been released from a Russian penal colony and is in United States custody after a prisoner exchange for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.

“I’m glad to say Brittney’s in good spirits… She needs time and space to recover,” said Biden at the White House.

Griner was detained on February 17, 2022 at Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow when the Russian Federal Customs Service discovered vape cartridges containing marijuana concentrate hashish oil in her luggage.

Russia launched a full-scale military attack against Ukraine on February 24, prompting the U.S. and other countries to issue severe sanctions against Russia. The detainment of Griner occurred during a time of high tension, making negotiations more difficult.

Griner had submitted an appeal in an effort to get her sentence reduced in October, which was denied. Last month, Griner was moved to a penal colony in the Mordovia region of Russia.

The exchange involved two private planes bringing Griner and Bout to Abu Dhabi airport from Moscow and Washington respectively, and then flying them home.