Brittney Griner Remains Detained In Russia After Release Of Trevor Reed

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On Wednesday (April 27), Russian officials released US Marine Trevor Reed from custody as part of a prisoner exchange with the US.

Reed had been detained in the country for nearly three years, and international relations experts say the release was surprising given the current war in Ukraine and decreased diplomatic relations between the US and Russia. There are more American citizens currently detained in Russia, including WNBA star Brittney Griner and US Marine vet Paul Whelan.

Griner was arrested at an airport outside of Moscow in February after customs officials accused the basketball star of carrying cannabis oil vape cartridges in her luggage. Authorities from the US embassy in Moscow were granted access to Griner in March and reported that the 31-year-old was in "good condition."

Whelan was arrested in Russia in 2018 after being accused of espionage –– something he's continuously denied, CNN reported. The 52-year-old was convicted of the charges in June 2020 and sentenced to 16 years in prison. The US said Whelan's trial was "unfair."

Whelan's family expressed mixed emotions about the news of Reed's release.

"Trevor is free. Paul remains a hostage," David Whelan, Paul's father told CNN. Questions about Griner's and Whelan's and the release of other citizens continue to swirl.

A senior administration official said that Reed's release came after "months and months of hard careful work across the US government," noting that "the conversations on this particular issue have accelerated recently to get us to this point."

"This is a tough call for a President," the official said. "President Biden made it to bring home an American whose health was a source of intense concern, and to deliver on his commitment to resolve these hard cases and reunite Americans with their loved ones."

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