Video shows Brittney Griner touching down on US soil after being released from Russian custody

Video shows Brittney Griner touching down on US soil after being released from Russian custody
Brittney Griner
WNBA star Brittney Griner lands in San Antonio, Texas, on December 9, 2022.NBC News Boston 10
  • WNBA star Brittney Griner was released from Russia on Thursday after nine months in custody.

  • She touched down in San Antonio, Texas, around 5:30 a.m. ET on Friday, video shows.

  • Griner was released from Russian custody in exchange for notorious arms dealer Viktor Bout.

A video shows the moment WNBA star Brittney Griner touched down on US soil after nine months in Russian custody.

Griner arrived in San Antonio, Texas, shortly after 5:30 a.m. ET on Friday, CNN reported. In footage shared by multiple news channels including CNN and NBC News, the basketball star is seen exiting the plane and crossing the tarmac by herself.

US officials who met Griner upon her arrival told CNN that she was "in good spirits and incredibly gracious."

Roger Carstens, a State Department official who was traveling with Griner, tweeted on Friday morning: "So happy to have Brittney back on US soil. Welcome home BG!"

Griner was detained at an airport in Moscow, Russia, in February for carrying cannabis oil in her luggage. She was found guilty of drug smuggling in early August and was sentenced to nine years in a Russian penal colony.

On Thursday, the US government said that they had agreed to exchange Griner for notorious arms dealer Viktor Bout — a move that has been criticized by some Republican figures, including former President Donald Trump.

Known as the "Merchant of Death," Bout has spent the past 12 years in an American jail after being found guilty of conspiring to support terrorists and kill Americans. He was caught and arrested in Thailand in 2008 after a US Drug Enforcement Agency sting operation.

It is unclear what Griner will do next.

Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby told CNN on Thursday that one of her first stops after touching down is expected to be "at a treatment facility where she can get the medical care that she might need after 10 months in detention."

Speaking alongside President Joe Biden at the White House on Thursday, Griner's wife, Cherelle, who tirelessly advocated for the basketball player's release, said her family was now whole.

"Thank you everybody for your support. Today is just a happy day for me and my family, so I'm going to smile right now, " she said, according to the BBC.

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