Griner in ‘Very Good Spirits,’ as Viktor Bout Slams US

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No new photographs or video emerged Friday afternoon of Brittney Griner, but the newly freed athlete has been reunited with her wife and appears to be in good health after 10 months in custody in Russia.

  • “She has been reunited with her wife, Cherelle,” said White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, per ABC News. “US officials who met her on the ground said she was in very good spirits, appears to be in good health,” Jean-Pierre said. The WNBA star was being evaluated at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, and it was not immediately clear when she would be going home.
  • Earlier, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Griner was in “very good spirits” and “appears to be in good health.”
  • The White House released video of President Biden informing Cherelle Griner in person that Brittney was “on the ground” and free.
  • Viktor Bout, the Russian who was freed from a US prison in Illinois in a swap for Griner, told a Russian news outlet that he had not encountered anti-Russian hostility behind bars, per the New York Times. “Even almost all my inmate neighbors were mainly, in some way, sympathetically inclined toward Russia,” he said. Bout added that America is trying to “destroy” Russia again. “The West thinks that they didn’t finish us off in 1990, when the Soviet Union started to collapse,” said Bout. “They think they can destroy us again and divide Russia into many parts.”
  • Bout said the most frequent question he was asked in prison was whether the 2005 Nicolas Cage film Lord of War, inspired in part by Bout’s life, was accurate. “If they had come to me and asked, I might have come up with a more interesting story,” he said of the movie.
  • On Friday, Russia’s Vladimir Putin said more US-Russia prisoner swaps were possible, reports the AP. “We aren’t refusing to continue this work in the future,” said Putin. That might be welcome news for the family of Paul Whelan.

(Read more Brittney Griner stories.)

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