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New video footage shows the moment WNBA center Brittney Griner was swapped for smiling convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout at Abu Dhabi Airport.

The footage shows Griner and Bout walking past each other on the tarmac. Neither seemed to acknowledge the other.

According to, the prisoner exchange was brokered by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman 48 hours after President Biden dropped a lawsuit holding him responsible for the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Americans expressed outrage over the prisoner exchange of a very dangerous terrorist, dubbed “the Merchant of Death.”

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Critics questioned why Griner was released while former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan and teacher Mark Fogel are still incarcerated in Russia.

President Biden confirmed Griner’s release on Thursday morning, saying, the “past few months have been hell for Brittney”.

“We never forgot about Brittney,” Biden said. “I’m glad to be able to say Brittney is in good spirits. She’s relieved to finally be heading home, and the fact remains that she’s lost months of her life, experienced a needless trauma. She deserves space, privacy and time with her loved ones to recover and heal from her time being wrongfully detained.”

Speaking from a Russian prison, Whelan said he was “greatly disappointed” the Biden administration didn’t secure his release alongside Griner. He added that he was ready to “go home”.

Whelan was arrested in Russia in 2018 on charges of espionage. The U.S. is still negotiating for his release.

Republican leader Kevin McCarthy called it “unconscionable” to leave a Marine behind. He said Viktor Bout’s release was “a gift to Putin”.

“Merchant of Death – that’s the nickname of the prisoner Biden returned to Putin. He was convicted of conspiring to kill American law enforcement,” McCarthy said Thursday.

Illinois Republican Adam Kinzinger, a House Rep., also tweeted, “So a basketball star is released, we can celebrate, but what about Paul Whelan? An American unjustly detained for years.”

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Griner, an eight-time WNBA all-star center and a 2-time Olympic gold medalist, was convicted Aug. 4 for smuggling cannabis oil in vape cartridges into Russia.

The 32-year-old was sentenced to serve 9 years in prison. After losing an appeal of her sentence, she was transferred to a brutal women’s penal colony labor camp where she was expected to work 16-hour days and subsist on one meal per day that smelled so foul even the feral cats wouldn’t eat it.

Watch the video below.