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Brittney Griner speaks out for first time since being released from Russian prison


U.S. Dept. of State

Brittney Griner thanked her family and friends and credited her faith for helping her survive her time in custody in her first comments since being released from a Russian prison earlier this month.

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

The U.S. swapped the WNBA star for convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout on December 8.

Griner also specifically thanked President Joe Biden and urged the U.S. to continue to fight to bring imprisoned ex-Marine Paul Whelan home from Russia.

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

Griner’s post on Instagram included a photo of her stepping off a plane in Texas upon returning to the U.S. and a photo of her hugging her wife, Cherelle. Griner’s agent confirmed that she has left a San Antonio military base, where she was recuperating, and is on her way home.

Griner said she plans to play for the Phoenix Mercury when the WNBA season starts up next spring.

Griner was taken into custody at a Moscow area airport in February in possession of vaping cartridges containing hashish oil, an illegal substance in Russia. She pleaded guilty in July and was sentenced to nine years in prison on August 7.

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