Video of WNBA star Brittney Griner being swapped for Russian Merchant of Death Viktor Bout

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Moment WNBA star Brittney Griner was swapped for Russia's grinning Merchant of Death arms dealer Viktor Bout at Abu Dhabi airport in deal brokered by Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince

Brittney Griner was jailed in February in Moscow for bringing marijuana into Russia She was released today after widespread outcry among celebrities and Dems Griner was swapped for war criminal Viktor Bout, who is so notorious he is nicknamed the 'Merchant of Death' Biden hailed the trade as a victory - but many view it as a gift to Putin Bout's crimes were far more serious than Griner's, and releasing him could bolster Putin's efforts in the war against UkraineSome called it 'surrendering' to Russia and asked why US Marine Paul Whelan, behind bars for allegedly spying, wasn't included in the trade  

By Jennifer Smith, Chief Reporter For Dailymail.Com

Published: 14:24 EST, 8 December 2022 | Updated: 14:42 EST, 8 December 2022

Video has emerged of the moment Russian Merchant of Death arms dealer Viktor Bout was swapped for WNBA star Brittney Griner in a widely criticized deal that was brokered by Saudi Arabia

The footage shows Bout emerging from one jet and walking past Griner this morning. 

A UAE official is nearby watching, but it is unclear if it Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. President Biden touted the swap as a success this morning, parading Griner's wife Cheryl at a press conference. 

But many say the deal is a gift to Putin and his war effort in Ukraine - and a damning indictment on Biden's diplomatic track record. 

Brittney Griner shakes hands with a UAE official on the tarmac of at Abu Dhabi today as she was swapped for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout in a deal brokered by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

The footage shows Bout emerging from one jet and walking past Griner this morning

Merchant of Death Bout emerged smiling. Griner is shown, left 

War criminal Bout smiled as he made his way towards the jet waiting for him 

The most vocal critics have asked why WNBA star Griner, whose release was advocated for by celebrities, has been released when Paul Whelan, who has been in prison for years, has not. 

Biden insists he is still trying to get Whelan out. 

The deal was brokered with Vladimir Putin, responsible for the genocide in Ukraine – and with the help of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, just 48 hours after the U.S. dropped a lawsuit holding him responsible for the murder of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The news was met with anger by supporters of former Marine Paul Whelan, who remains in Russian prison. Republicans condemned that as 'unconscionable' and said the White House was focused on 'celebrities' over veterans detained by Putin. 

Whelan said from prison that he was 'greatly disappointed' the Biden administration did not do more to secure his release alongside Griner and said he was ready to 'go home'.

Republican leader Kevin McCarthy called it 'unconscionable' to leave behind Whelan. 

Paul Whelan (shown in 2019) said he was 'disappointed' not to have been included in the swap today. He has spent four years in Russian prison on charges of espionage and spying that the Biden administration says are wrongful 

Biden celebrates with Griner's wife Cherelle in the Oval Office after securing the WNBA star's release from a Russian penal colony 

From left to right: Biden, Cherelle, Kamala Harris, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken

President Joe Biden addresses the nation from the White House Thursday morning to discuss Brittney Griner's release, as well as the conditions of Americans still detained abroad

'Merchant of Death – that's the nickname of the prisoner Biden returned to Putin. He was convicted of conspiring to kill American law enforcement.

'This is a gift to Vladimir Putin, and it endangers American lives. Leaving Paul Whelan behind for this is unconscionable.' 

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, an Illinois Republican and former Air Force pilot, also cried foul.    

'So a basketball star is released, we can celebrate, but what about Paul Whelan? An American unjustly detained for years,' he tweeted.

'May not be high profile but he is innocent. This is a dangerous road.' 


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