(OPINION) President Joe Biden on Thursday celebrated the news that his administration had successfully secured the release of WNBA basketball player Brittney Griner, who was detained in Russia.

“Brittney is an incomparable athlete,” Biden said, noting she was a two-time Olympic Gold medalist for the United States. Griner was arrested in February at a Moscow airport by Russian officials for possession of cannabis vape cartridges. “She represents the best about America — just across the board, everything about her,” Biden said.

The Biden administration secured Griner’s release after they agreed to exchange her freedom for the release of Viktor Bout, a convicted international weapons dealer.


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The news of Griner’s release surprised Americans advocating for the release of ex-U.S. Marine Paul Whelan from Russia, who has been detained for nearly four years. Biden tried to ward off criticism by noting that “this was not a choice of which American to bring home.” “Sadly, for totally illegitimate reasons, Russia is treating Paul’s case differently than Brittney’s,” he said. (SOURCE)

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