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Britney Griner freed by Russia in prisoner swap for arms dealer Viktor Bout

Brittney Griner, the WNBA star who was held for months in Russian prisons on drug charges, has been released today, Dec. 8, in a one-for-one prisoner swap for international arms dealer Viktor Bout, according to a U.S. official.

The one-for-one exchange agreement negotiated with Moscow in recent weeks was given final approval by President Biden just the last week, according to sources familiar with the deal.

The swap took place on Thursday December 8 in the United Arab Emirates.

Five former U.S. officials told CBS News the agreement had been reached as of last Thursday, Dec. 1.

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A White House official said President Biden was in the Oval Office Thursday morning, Dec. 8, on the phone, speaking with Griner and her wife, and that Vice President Kamala Harris was also in the room.

President Biden is expected to speak at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time (ET) at the White House about the prisoner swap that saw Brittney Griner released.

To secure Griner’s release, the president ordered Bout to be freed and returned to Russia. Biden signed the commutation order cutting short Bout’s 25-year federal prison sentence.


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