WASHINGTON (AP) – Russia has freed WNBA star Brittney Griner in a dramatic high-level prisoner exchange, with the U.S. releasing notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.
The swap was confirmed by U.S. officials with direct knowledge of the negotiations who weren’t authorized to publicly discuss the deal before a White House announcement and spoke on condition of anonymity.
It comes at a time of heightened tensions over Ukraine and it achieves a top goal for President Joe Biden. But it also comes with a heavy price and leaves behind an American who’s been jailed for nearly four years in Russia.
Griner is a two-time Olympic gold medalist who’s been imprisoned for months on drug charges.