Brittney Griner trade news live: WNBA star arrives at San Antonio army hospital in US after being released by Russia in exchange for Viktor Bout

Britney Griner is back on American soil after spending 294 days in a Russian prison

Brittney Greener is back on American soil for the first time in 10 months after being released from Russian custody in a prisoner swap with “Dealer of Death” Victor Booth.

The WNBA star arrived at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio early Friday morning, where she will be examined and receive the necessary medical treatment.

Footage showed Ms Greener and Booth being exchanged on the tarmac of a race track in the UAE on Thursday, after weeks of talks between Washington and Moscow.

The deal failed to include US Marine Paul Whelan, who has been detained in Russia for the past four years. Mr Whalen told CNN he was “hugely disappointed” to learn he was not part of the prisoner swap, saying: “I don’t understand why I’m still sitting here.”

President Joe Biden insisted Thursday that “we have not forgotten about Paul Whelan” and vowed to “never give up” on securing his release as the exchange divided opinion across the country. The White House was also forced to deny claims by Saudi Arabia and the UAE that MBS negotiated the deal.

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The Pentagon acknowledges concern that Victor Bout will return to the arms trade

The Pentagon acknowledged that US officials were concerned that Victor Bout would return to the arms trade after his release on Thursday.

A senior Defense Department official told Politico that the Biden administration fears Booth could return to his past of illegal arms trafficking — something that could pose a danger to America.

“I think there are concerns [he] would go back to doing the same job he did in the past,” the anonymous official said.

Booth is a famous arms dealer who has earned the nickname “Death Dealer”.

At the time of his release on Thursday, he was in the middle of a 25-year sentence in a US prison on multiple charges, including plotting to kill Americans.

Rachel SharpDecember 9, 2022 11:00 p.m

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Brittney Greener’s family thanked President Joe Biden for her release from Russian custody

Britney Greener’s family released a statement thanking President Joe Biden for her release from Russian custody.

“We would also like to give a special thanks to Governor Richardson and Mickey Bergman of the Richardson Center for their work and for staying in constant communication with us.”

The family went on to thank Paul Whelan and his family for their support as they hope he too will be released soon.

“We sincerely thank you all for your kind words, thoughts and prayers – including Paul and the Whalens who have been generous with their support for Britney and our family at what we know is a heartbreaking time. We pray for Paul and for the speedy and safe return of all wrongfully detained Americans,” the statement said.

“We ask that you respect our privacy as we embark on this path to healing. The Greener Family”

Rachel SharpDecember 9, 2022 10:00 p.m

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Russian state media touted the prisoner swap as a “huge victory” over the US

Russian state media described the prisoner swap with the US that led to the release of both former WNBA star Brittney Greener and arms dealer Victor Booth as a “huge victory” in broadcasts.

“I have to say that we achieved a huge victory today. I don’t even think we have a full understanding of how big it is,” Russian state media personality Vladimir Solovyov said during a broadcast of his daily show. “Russian intelligence agencies, together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, conducted a stunning operation and brought home a man who never once pleaded guilty, who was unjustly convicted and slandered, but did not betray his homeland.

Greig GraziosiDecember 9, 2022 9:31 pm

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Russian spy who infiltrated American conservative groups gloats over Victor Booth’s release

Marina Butina, a Russian spy who was captured by US agents and later released, gloated on social media about the release of Viktor Bout, the “Death Dealer” arms dealer who was traded in exchange for the release of former WNBA star Brittney Greener.

“The fact that Russia went through with the exchange of (Victor) Bout, whom America was basically unwilling to hand over for many years, means right now that, as in Godfather, we “made them an offer they couldn’t refuse,” Ms Butina said on the Telegram messaging app on Thursday. “This is a position of strength, comrades.”

Ms. Butina spent years infiltrating right-wing groups, including the National Rifle Association, before she was caught and imprisoned. She was released from prison in 2019 by the Trump administration and returned to Moscow. Now she is a politician.

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Greig GraziosiDecember 9, 2022 9:00 p.m

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Congressman Troy Nels says Trump will bring Paul Whelan home “in a week,” even though the former president has failed to secure his release

Congressman Troy Nels told Newsmax that former President Donald Trump will bring Paul Whelan home “within a week,” even though the former president failed to secure his release during his tenure.

During an appearance on Newsmax, Mr. Nels said Joe Biden should call Mr. Trump and ask him to negotiate Mr. Whelan’s release.

“You want to bring Paul Whelan home, Joe Biden, why don’t you call Donald Trump. Donald Trump would negotiate; he was going to bring Paul Whelan home and he was going to bring him home in a week,” the congressman said.

Mr. Whelan was detained and convicted during Mr. Trump’s presidency, and Mr. Trump failed to secure the man’s release. Russia offered the Trump administration a deal for Mr. Whelan, but Trump officials rejected the offer.

Greig GraziosiDecember 9, 2022 8:45 p.m

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A US Homeland Security spokesman says officials are still working to secure Paul Whelan’s release

US national security spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Friday that officials were still working to secure the release of Paul Whelan and an American who was detained in Russia in 2018 on espionage charges.

Mr Whelan became the subject of discussion following the release of former WNBA star Brittney Griner from Russian custody. Largely conservative critics of the prisoner swap, which freed both Greener and notorious arms dealer Victor Booth, complained that Mr. Whelan was not included in the deal.

“We will work actively [Moscow] channels to try and bring Paul home,” Mr Kirby told reporters.

According to White House officials, negotiators did try to include Mr. Whelan in the swap, but Moscow rejected the offer.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday that future prisoner exchanges were “possible”, but Mr Kirby said “actions, not words” were what mattered.

“We recorded what Mr. Putin said, let’s see what he actually does,” Mr. Kirby said.

Greig GraziosiDecember 9, 2022 8:20 p.m

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White House press secretary says Britney Greener has been reunited with her wife and appears to be in good health

Former WNBA star Brittney Greener has reunited with her wife Sherrell, according to White House press secretary Karin Jean-Pierre.

Ms Jean-Pierre said Griner had been in “very good spirits” since her return and appeared to be “in good health”.

Greig GraziosiDecember 9, 2022 7:52 p.m

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Brittney Griner cut her hair while imprisoned in Russia because her locks were frozen

Former WNBA star Brittney Greener, who was released from Russian custody this week thanks to a US-Russia prisoner swap deal, reportedly cut her hair short while in prison because of frostbite her

This was said by Maria Blagovolina, one of Griner’s lawyers ESPN that Griner cut off his hair about two weeks ago after it started freezing due to the cold Russian winter.

“It’s very cold there and every time she washed her hair she got cold and chilled,” Ms Blagovolina said. “She had to wait until the New Year.”

Greig GraziosiDecember 9, 2022 7:31 pm

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Russians did not negotiate in ‘good faith’ for Paul Whelan, White House press secretary says

White House press secretary Karin Jean-Pierre told reporters on Friday that Russia was unwilling to engage in “good faith” talks to free Paul Whelan, an American who has been imprisoned in the country since 2018. US officials have tried to include Mr. Whelan in a prisoner swap they struck to free former WNBA star Brittney Greener, but a deal could not be reached.

“In the last week or two we have seen that the Russians are willing to release Brittney Griner for Mr. Booth. This is what we were presented with. They were reluctant to negotiate in good faith for Paul Whelan.

Greig GraziosiDecember 9, 2022 7:03 p.m

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Russia offered Paul Whelan as part of Britney Greener deal, but wanted a spy serving a life sentence for murder

U.S. officials speaking to CNN told the outlet that Russia did offer Paul Whelan as part of the prisoner swap deal that freed former WNBA star Brittney Greiner, but only if a Russian spy serving a life sentence in Germany for murder. be released along with the “Merchant of Death” Victor Booth.

The US has inquired with Germany about the potential release of Vadim Krasikov, the Russian spy who was convicted of murder. The US failed to negotiate the release of the Russian. However, according to officials, the US has offered other imprisoned Russians in an attempt to free Mr Whelan, but those offers have been rejected by Russia.

Greig GraziosiDecember 9, 2022 6:46 p.m

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