Moscow and Washington have announced the completion of the prisoner exchange between Brittney Griner and Victor Bout

Moscow and Washington have announced the completion of the prisoner exchange
Biden speaks by phone with Brittney Greener / Twitter

On Thursday, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that American basketball star Brittney Greener would be released in exchange for imprisoned arms dealer Victor Bout. US President Joe Biden pledged to return all Americans who have been detained abroad without cause.

The Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying, “We have completed the procedures for the exchange of prisoners, the Russian businessman Viktor Bout, and the American basketball player.”

The Russian news agency Tass reported that “Viktor Bout, a Russian citizen, is currently on a plane heading towards Russia and will arrive soon.”

The US President announced that Brittney Griner is safe and on her way home. He said, “I spoke with Brittney a while ago, and she is doing well.”

Biden gave a speech at the White House on the prisoner exchange deal, saying “It’s been a long time coming and we’re finally here after some tiring negotiations.”

American prisoner

Biden noted that Greener is doing well as she heads home, and he emphasized how unfairly she was treated during her mockery of a trial in Russia.

Biden noted that it is not an option to return home for Americans, but rather a duty. He continued by saying his administration has returned many citizens who were arrested or kidnapped abroad and pledged to keep working until all Americans detained are brought back safely.

Biden expressed his gratitude to the UAE for their part in finishing the prisoner exchange process. He then went on to say that Russia is treating Paul Whelan’s case (an American soldier imprisoned in Russia) differently than they are Britney’s case. Biden promised he would work tirelessly to get Whelan back home.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken announced that Greener will return home after spending months in Russia illegally.

On August fourth, the Russian judiciary sentenced Griner to 9 years in prison for drug possession. The US President denounced the verdict immediately and said that he would work hard to return Grainer and Paul Whelan–a former Marine who was arrested at a hotel in Moscow for possessing sensitive material in December 2018.

Russian prisoner

On one hand, the United States has been holding the Russian businessman, Victor Bout, since 2010. He is infamously one of the world’s biggest arms dealers and was an officer in the Soviet Air Force during that time. In fact, his story was so popular that Hollywood made a movie about him called “The Merchant of Death.”

Upon being convicted of placing a hit on American officials and arming rebels in Africa and South America, Bout was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Last month, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister said that Sergei Ryabkov Bout had been “persecuted” in the United States and he wished him to have the “toughness of will and strength of spirit” necessary to endure the conditions of his imprisonment.