After nearly 300 days of being detained by the Russian government, Brittney Griner is on her way home. In a tweet posted on Thursday morning, President Joe Biden announced that a long-speculated prisoner swap between the United States and Russia has come to fruition and ended Griner’s time in a penal colony.
Griner was detained back in February after allegations that hashish oil was found among her belonging at an airport in Moscow. It did not take long for the United States government to label Griner as wrongfully detained by the Russian government, but despite that, Griner was found guilty on drug charges in August and sentenced to nine years in prison.
The potential of Griner coming home as part of a prisoner swap has been floated for months, with some reports indicating that the United States government wanted to release a Russian arms trafficker named Viktor Bout in exchange for Griner and a U.S. Marine named Paul Whelan, the latter of whom is serving a 16-year sentence in Russia for espionage. According to numerous reports, Whelan will not return to the United States as part of the swap, while Bout, who is known as the “Merchant of Death” and was arrested by the American government in 2008 in Thailand, will return to Russia.