Brittney Griner “looked fantastic” and was talkative, says special envoy

WBNA star Brittney Griner “looked great” and “seemed doing fine” on her flight home to the US after being held in a Russian prison for an agonizing 10 months – but wasn’t interested in any alone time and was eager to join in the conversation all of you on board, a U.S. hostage-taking official said Sunday.

Special Envoy for Hostage Affairs Roger Carstens recounted the poignant moment when he met Griner on the tarmac in the United Arab Emirates to escort her back to the United States.

“I said, ‘Britney, my name is Ambassador Roger Carstens. I’m with the US State Department. And on behalf of the President of the United States, Joe Biden, and Secretary of State, Tony Blinkem, I’m here to take you home,” the envoy told host Dana Bashon on CNN’s State of the Union.

“And in that moment, I think every human realizes that it’s going to happen, it’s beginning; at least that’s how Brittney felt.”

Griner, 32, was freed in a prisoner swap with international arms dealer Viktor Bout on Thursday after he was arrested with cannabis oil at a Moscow airport.

The Phoenix Mercury Center was sent to a penal colony in Mordovia, Russia while the US negotiated with the warring nation for their release.

Brittney Griner.
Brittney Griner “looked great” on her flight home to the US after being held in a Russian prison for 10 months.
Russian Federal Security Service via AP

After their ordeal, Carstens figured the hoopster would want to spend the long flight home in his thoughts, but Griner had other ideas.

“When she finally got on the US plane, I said, ‘Brittney, you must have been through a lot in the last 10 months. Here’s your place, relax, we’ll give you your place.’

“And she said, ‘Oh no. I’ve been in prison for 10 months now and I’m listening to Russian. i want to talk But first of all, who are these guys?’”

“And she walked right past me and went to every member of that crew, looked them in the eye, shook their hand, asked about them, got their names and made a personal connection with them,” Carstens recalled.

“She’s looking good. I mean, she was full of energy, looked amazing. She’s in Port Sam Houston right now and is having some medical checks, but seems to be fine,” he said.

Griner has not spoken publicly about the breakup or her time behind bars.

Carstens said as soon as the plane took off, his focus was on thinking about how the US could bring back Paul Whelan, a former Marine accused by the Russians of espionage in 2018.

WNBA star Brittney Griner leaves Kelly Field in San Antonio after being released.
WNBA star Brittney Griner leaves Kelly Field in San Antonio after being released.
AP

Whelan, 52, told the network last week he was “very disappointed that more hasn’t been done” four years after his incarceration.

“I was arrested for a crime that never happened,” Whelan told CNN from his penal colony. “I don’t understand why I’m still sitting here.”

Carstens was silent on the plan to save Whelan, claiming he had to keep his negotiation cards close to the vest.

“I spoke to him on Friday, the day after the swap, and I said this to him: I said, ‘Paul, you have this president’s obligation; The president is focused, the foreign minister is focused, I’m definitely focused and we’ll take you home,” said Carstens.

https://nypost.com/2022/12/11/brittney-griner-looked-fantastic-was-eager-to-talk-special-envoy-says/ Brittney Griner “looked fantastic” and was talkative, says special envoy

JACLYN DIAZ

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