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Reaction to Brittney Griner“s release from Russian prison

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U.S. basketball player Brittney Griner, who was detained at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport and later charged with illegal possession of cannabis, is escorted before a court hearing in Khimki outside Moscow, Russia August 2, 2022. Natalia Kolesnikova/Pool via REUTERS

U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner was released on Thursday in a prisoner swap with Russia after the two-time Olympic champion and Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) player spent more than nine months detained on a drug possession offense. Here are some comments in reaction to her release:

“Moments ago I spoke to Brittney Griner. She’s safe. She’s on a plane. She’s on her way home after months of being unjustly detained in Russia, held under intolerable circumstances.”

“I am standing here overwhelmed with emotions, but the most important emotion I have right now is sincere gratitude for President Biden and his entire administration. Today, my family is whole, but there are so many other families who are not whole. (Griner) and I will remain committed to getting every American home.”

“Grateful for the long-overdue release of Brittney Griner today from Russian custody. Kudos to @POTUS and his administration for the difficult diplomatic work involved to make it happen. We’re looking forward to having Brittney back home.”

“This is a very bad mistake by the Biden administration. This is not a deal, this is not a swap, this is a surrender. Terrorists and rogue states all around the world will take note of this and it endangers other Americans in the future.”

“For nearly 10 long months, Brittney Griner suffered unthinkable trauma as she was wrongfully imprisoned by the Russian government. President Biden, Secretary Blinken and the many hard-working national security professionals are to be commended for their tireless, steadfast work to bring Brittney home.”

“This time, U.S. government officials let us know in advance that Paul would be left behind (12/7/2022), unlike last April when they left him. That early warning meant that our family has been able to mentally prepare for what is now a public disappointment for us. And a catastrophe for Paul.”

“While we celebrate Brittney’s release, Paul Whelan and his family continue to suffer needlessly. Despite our ceaseless efforts, the Russian government has not yet been willing to bring a long overdue end to his wrongful detention. I wholeheartedly wish we could have brought Paul home today on the same plane with Brittney.”

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