HomeSportsRussian state TV mocks US over Brittney Griner prisoner swap

Russian state TV mocks US over Brittney Griner prisoner swap


WNBA player Brittney Griner was fired for Russian authorities on Thursday morning after spending nearly 10 months in a Russian prison following a February arrest for bringing vape cartridges containing hashish oil through a Moscow airport.

Griner was released from a Russian penal colony on Thursday in exchange for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.

Convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout walks past temporary cells before a hearing at the Bangkok Criminal Court on August 20, 2010.
(Christophe Archambault/AFP via Getty Images)

Bout, known as the “merchant of death”, was serving a 25-year sentence in a US prison after being convicted in 2011 of conspiracy to kill Americans, conspiracy to launch anti-aircraft missiles and aiding a terrorist organization.

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While Griner was released, another US citizen remains in Russia: former US Marine Paul Whelan.

Whelan was sentenced in 2020 to 16 years in a Russian prison on alleged espionage charges.

His absence from the contract did not go unnoticed.

Paul Whelan, a former US Marine arrested for alleged espionage, listens to the verdict in a Moscow City Courtroom in Moscow, Russia, June 15, 2020.

Paul Whelan, a former US Marine arrested for alleged espionage, listens to the verdict in a Moscow City Courtroom in Moscow, Russia, June 15, 2020.
(Sofia Sandurskaya, Moscow News Agency photo via AP, File)

Dallas Cowboys star linebacker Micah Parson reacted to the news that Whelan fell behind, as did WFAN radio host Boomer Esiason.

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Russian state television, which is known for its propaganda, discussed the trade, mocking the United States for trading Griner for Whelan.

A show moderator referred to Whelan as a “spy” and said that Whelan is a hero to the American people. However, the moderator specified three things against Whelan regarding the US winning his release.

WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner is escorted from the courtroom after a hearing in Khimki, outside Moscow, Russia, on August 4, 2022.

WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner is escorted from the courtroom after a hearing in Khimki, outside Moscow, Russia, on August 4, 2022.
(AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)

“His first problem is that he is white,” the moderator said, according to a translation obtained by Fox News Digital. “His second problem with him is that he’s a man. His third problem: he’s straight.

“This is not something that can be forgiven today. It’s just a catastrophe. Yes, here Griner surpasses him in all aspects.

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The moderator goes on to falsely claim that “American voters” were given a choice between Griner and Whelan in exchange for the “Death Merchant,” when in fact it was the Biden administration that made the decision.

The moderator added that it was a victory for Russia that the US chose a celebrity over a former marine, as it shows what the US values.

Following Griner’s release, Secretary of State Antony Blinken issued a statement saying the Biden administration will continue to work to bring Whelan home.

WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner listens to the verdict in a court in Khimki, outside Moscow, Russia, on August 4, 2022.

WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner listens to the verdict in a court in Khimki, outside Moscow, Russia, on August 4, 2022.
(Evgenia Novozhenina/Pool Photo via AP)

“I am grateful to the State Department team and our colleagues across government who worked tirelessly to secure his release,” the statement said. “I especially congratulate the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs, Roger Carstens, who is accompanying Brittney back to the United States, as well as her entire team. We also express our deep appreciation to our many partners who helped achieve this result, including our Emirati friends who assisted in the transfer today.

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“As we celebrate Brittney’s release, Paul Whelan and his family continue to suffer needlessly. Despite our relentless efforts, the Russian government has yet to be willing to end his long-delayed wrongful detention. I wish with all my heart that we could have brought Paul home. Today on the same plane with Brittney. However, we will not relent in our efforts to bring Paul and all other American citizens held hostage or wrongfully detained abroad to their loved ones, where they belong.”

Ryan Gaydos and Nick Kalman of Fox News contributed to this report



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