Brittney Griner released in U.S.-Russia prisoner swap

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STORY: BIDEN: "She's safe, she's on a plane, she's on her way home."

U.S. President Joe Biden on Thursday announced he’d won the release of American basketball star Brittney Griner, after months in Russian custody.

Griner was arrested in Russia in February, tried and convicted of drug charges, and sentenced to nine years in a penal colony.

BIDEN: "After months of being unjustly detained in Russia, held under intolerable circumstances, Brittney will soon be back in the arms of her loved ones, and she should have been there all along."

The Russian foreign ministry said Moscow had exchanged Griner for convicted Russian arms dealer Victor Bout.

Dubbed "the merchant of death," Bout spent decades trafficking guns to rogue states, rebel groups, and murderous warlords. He was nabbed in a sting operation in 2008, extradited to the U.S., and sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Russian news agencies said the Griner-Bout swap occurred at an airport in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates.

Griner has maintained that it was an "honest mistake" that lead to her arrest and did not mean to break the law. She had a prescription at the time in the U.S. for medical marijuana for relief from chronic injuries.

The 32-year-old star of the Women's National Basketball Association's Phoenix Mercury is a two-time Olympic gold medalist, who was in Russia to play basketball during the U.S. off-season.

Biden described Russia’s prosecution of Griner as a "show trial," and said he never waved in his commitment to see her freed.

BIDEN: "She wrote to me back in July. She didn't ask for special treatment, even though we'd been working on her release from day one. She requested a simple, 'please don't forget about me and the other American detainees.'"

Biden said he would continue to work toward the release of other Americans he said were unjustly detained, naming Paul Whelan, who is currently in Russian prison.

CHERELLE GRINER: "Today my family is whole. But as you all are aware, there are so many other families that are not whole."

Griner's wife Cherelle Griner thanked Biden and his administration for freeing Brittney, but paid tribute to those who were still waiting to see loved ones again.

CHERELLE GRINER: "We do understand that there are still people out here who are enduring what I endured, the last nine months, of missing, tremendously, their loved ones."

But she was committed to celebrating this moment.

CHERELLE GRINER: "So, I'm going to smile right now."