WNBA star Brittney Griner released in prisoner exchange with Russia

Russia freed WNBA star Brittney Griner on Thursday in a dramatic high-level prisoner exchange, as the United States released notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout. The swap, at a time of heightened tensions over Ukraine, achieved a top goal for President Joe Biden, but carried a heavy price – and left behind an American jailed for nearly four years in Russia.

“She’s safe, she’s on a plane, she’s on her way home,” Mr. Biden said from the White House, where he was accompanied by Ms. Griner’s wife, Cherelle, and administration officials.

The deal, the second such exchange in eight months with Russia, procured the release of the most prominent American detained abroad. Ms. Griner is a two-time Olympic gold medalist whose monthslong imprisonment on drug charges brought unprecedented attention to the population of wrongful detainees.