Kurt Volker on Brittney Griner’s Release
Dec. 8, 2022
Brittney Griner has been released by the Russians. Former NATO Ambassador Kurt Volker talks about her release, in trade for Russian Arms dealer Viktor Bout. Bout was serving 25 years. Griner was put safely on a plane back to the states, according to the White House. The swap took place in the United Arab Emirates. Biden approved the deal just last week.
“First off, I am very happy for Brittney Griner and her family. This is great news for them. She was detained in excess of anything reasonable that the Russians could have done there. So for them to let her go is terrific,” Volker said.
The reason they held her is because they are trying to put leverage on the Biden administration for a variety of reasons, Volker said.
“The Russians are playing this for their own political purposes. So good day today for Brittney Griner, but still very, very tough for the other American there and a really troubling circumstance to see Viktor Bout, convicted arms dealer who is responsible for the deaths of Americans in the past, and will likely be so again, being released,” Volker said.
In Russia, this exchange could be considered a very big deal, Volker said. Many citizens may see Russia as getting the better end of the deal. Bout is notorious and there is a high chance he will go back to doing what he was initially arrested for.
Volker hopes that this exchange does not send a message to the rest of the world, conveying that it’s okay to take a few hostages and then negotiate good terms to give them back.
“That would be a terrible message to send. I hope that this is kind of a one off, and that we still continue to negotiate for Paul Whelan’s release, and that we do not even flinch for a moment when it comes to supporting Ukraine and helping them fight back against Russia’s aggression,” Volker said.