Brittney Griner’s first comments since Russia prisoner swap

Brittney Griner made her first public comments since her release on Friday after serving 10 months in a Russian prison.

WASHINGTON — Brittney Griner speaks for the first time since returning to the United States in a dramatic prisoner swap with Russia.

In a statement posted to Instagram, the WNBA star thanked everyone who campaigned for her release and thanked their faith and the love she felt from so many for helping her get through the months-long ordeal.

“It feels so good to be home! The last 10 months have been a struggle at every turn,” Griner wrote. “I dug deep to keep my faith and it was the love of so many of you that helped me move on. From the bottom of my heart I thank everyone for their help.”

Griner’s post included a photo of her getting off the plane in Texas exactly a week ago and a photo of her hugging her wife, Cherelle.

“President Biden, you brought me home and I know you are committed to bringing Paul Whelan and all Americans home too. I will use my platform to do whatever I can to help you. I also encourage everyone who helped bring me home to continue their efforts to bring all Americans home. Every family deserves to be whole,” she added.

Griner also thanked everyone at the San Antonio military medical facility where she underwent medical and mental health evaluations after returning to the United States

The two-time Olympic champion also stated that she plans to return to the WNBA in 2023.

“I also want to make one thing very clear: I intend to play basketball for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury this season, and I look forward to saying ‘thank you’ to those of you who have stood up, written, and soon in person posted for me,” Griner said.

Griner, who also played professional basketball in Russia, was arrested at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport in February after Russian authorities said she was carrying vape canisters containing cannabis oil. The US State Department declared Griner “unlawfully detained” — a charge Russia has strongly denied.

Her release was secured last week in exchange for the release of notorious arms dealer Viktor Bout, who was serving a 25-year sentence for conspiring to sell tens of millions of dollars worth of weapons against US officials should say Americans.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Brittney Griner’s first comments since Russia prisoner swap

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