The highest US hostage affairs official on Sunday mirrored on conducting the prisoner swap that led to Brittney Griner’s launch, saying the WNBA star instantly thanked the crew returning her to the USA.
“When she lastly bought on to the US aircraft, I mentioned, ‘Brittney, you should have been via so much during the last 10 months. Right here’s your seat. Please be happy to decompress. We’ll provide you with your area,’” Particular Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs Roger Carstens informed CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union.”
“And she or he mentioned, ‘Oh no. I’ve been in jail for 10 months now listening to Russian, I need to speak. However to start with, who’re these guys?’ And she or he moved proper previous me and went to each member on that crew, appeared them within the eyes, shook their arms and requested about them and bought their names, making a private reference to them. It was actually superb,” Carstens recalled. “After which afterward, on an 18-hour flight, she most likely spent 12 hours simply speaking and we talked about all the pieces underneath the solar.”
Carstens, who led the mission to the UAE, offered CNN with new particulars about Griner’s journey residence. Griner, who he described as “an clever, passionate, compassionate, humble, fascinating particular person, a patriotic particular person — however above all, genuine,” appeared wholesome and filled with vitality in the course of the journey.
She was given a way, he mentioned, that she could be going residence that day, and it felt actual the second he was in a position to board the opposite aircraft and inform her that “on behalf of the President of the USA, Joe Biden, and Secretary of State Tony Blinken, I’m right here to take you residence.”
“At that time, now we have to undergo a little bit extra of the choreography to get her on the aircraft, it normally takes about three minutes,” Carstens mentioned.
Whereas he mentioned Griner talked about her ordeal in the course of the journey, he declined to elaborate on the main points.
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