After agreeing with the United States on the exchange of prisoners (the young American Brittney Griner, basketball player of the Czar of arms, the Russian Viktor But), the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, assured this Friday that it is “possible” to agree on other prisoner exchanges.
“Contacts continue at the level of the intelligence services, they have never ceased. Is it possible to do other (exchanges)? yes everything is possiblePutin said at a press conference on the sidelines of a regional meeting in Kyrgyzstan, referring to Thursday’s Griner-Bout exchange.
Griner returned to the US early Friday morning, nearly 10 months after the basketball star’s arrest in Russia left her a High-profile American detained overseas and stir up a political storm.
be a openly lesbian black womanprominent figure in women’s basketball and detained in a country whose authorities have been hostile to the LBGTQ community, growing concern about his condition and brought unprecedented attention to her case. The Russian invasion of Ukraine soon after his arrest further complicated matters.
Another prisoner, waiting
The deal to swap Griner for notorious arms dealer Viktor Bout announced Thursday met one of President Joe Biden’s major goals, but it didn’t include the release of another American. Paul Whelanwho was imprisoned in Russia for almost four years.
Biden’s decision to authorize the release of Bout, a former Russian criminal nicknamed the “death marcher”underlines the great urgency of the government to get the player back, especially after the recent resolution of her case, drug relatedand his transfer to a penal colony.
Griner, what won two Olympic gold medals and is the star of the Phoenix Mercury in the pro league, was seen stepping off a plane that landed Friday at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in Texas.
“Very happy to have Brittney back on American soil. Welcome home BG!” tweeted Roger Carstens, the presidential envoy on the hostage issue.
The WNBA star, who also played professional basketball in Russia, was arrested at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport in February after authorities said they found her in her luggage cartridges with cannabis extract for vaping.
The State Department said the athlete had been “unjustly detained”something Russia has strongly rejected.
Although she pleaded guilty in July, she was put on trial because an admission of guilt does not automatically close the case in Russia’s judicial system. She was sentenced to nine years.
In court, he admitted to having cartridges with cannabis oil, but stated so he had no criminal intent and that he accidentally packed them. His legal team submitted written statements indicating that he had been prescribed cannabis to treat the pain.
The Russian Foreign Ministry confirmed the exchange on Thursday in a statement released by the country’s news agencies, which explained that theThe exchange took place in Abu Dhabi and that Bout flew back to his own country.
Biden spoke to Griner on the phone. US officials said so You will be offered specialized medical assistance.
In exchange, the United States released Bout, a former Soviet Army lieutenant colonel considered by the Justice Department to be one of the world’s biggest arms dealers. He was arrested in Thailand in 2008 and extradited to the country in 2010.
Bout was serving a 25-year sentence for conspiring to sell tens of millions of dollars worth of weapons to be used against Americans.
Mark Jones is a world traveler and journalist for News Rebeat. With a curious mind and a love of adventure, Mark brings a unique perspective to the latest global events and provides in-depth and thought-provoking coverage of the world at large.