On the release of ex-Kremlin aide Britney Griner: “Putin has surpassed Biden”

A former adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that the prisoner exchange that returned Britney Griner to the United States in exchange for arms dealer Victor Booth was a victory for Moscow and made America look weak.

“Putin beat Biden,” wrote Sergey Markov in a scathing post on his Telegram channel.

“We got our spy back, apparently we gave a normal girl,” he added.

Markov praised Griner as an “excellent athlete,” but said Booth was not as important to Russia as he was to the United States.

Prisoner exchanges with the West should be “all to our benefit,” he wrote.

Griner, 32, was arrested at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport on February 17 after Russian authorities found vape canisters containing cannabis oil in his suitcase. He pleaded guilty to drug charges and was later sentenced to nine years of hard labor in a Russian prison camp.

Sergei Markov, pictured at a press conference in 2016, praised the Russian leader for the exchange.
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Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout is being watched by members of a special police unit after a hearing at a criminal court in Bangkok in 2010.
Russian arms dealer Victor Booth has been replaced by WNBA star Brittney Griner.

Booth is a notorious Russian arms dealer known as the “Death Merchant” who has been in US custody since 2008. He was convicted in 2011 of conspiring to sell tens of millions of dollars worth of weapons to be used against Americans through narcotics. terrorists and was in the middle of a 25-year federal prison sentence.

The exchange was mediated by the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, and the President of the United Arab Emirates.

President Joe Biden (R) speaks with Vice President Kamala Harris on the release of Olympian and WNBA player Brittney Griner from Russian custody in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on December 8, 2022 in Washington, DC.
President Joe Biden spoke at the White House on Thursday about Griner’s release.
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Russian President Vladimir Putin (front) made a toast with the participants of the ceremony of awarding the Golden Star medals to the Heroes of Russia in the St. George's Hall of the Grand Kremlin Palace.  The event is dedicated to the Day of Heroes of the Motherland, which is celebrated on December 9
Sergey Markov said the exchange made it clear that “Putin is ahead of Biden.”

President Biden personally signed the exchange, in which both prisoners were flown to Abu Dhabi on private jets before departing for their respective countries.

“Brittney will soon be back in the arms of her loved ones, and she should have been there all along,” the president said Thursday. “This is the day we’ve been working towards for a long time. We have not stopped striving to free him.”


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