In a video released on Saturday by the Russian Federal Customs Service, a woman, later identified as Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner was detained at the Sheremetyevo airport near Moscow on drug charges.
Griner was detained for allegedly possessing ape cartridges that contained hashish oil in her luggage.
“Brittney Griner is a United States citizen, she was a guest in Russia…and I will be demanding her release,” said Texas Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee at a press conference.
The WNBA star’s wife, Cherelle Griner, offered her support for Brittney on Instagram this weekend, thanking fans and the public for their concern on Griner’s Russia detention.
“Thank you to everyone who has reached out to me regarding my wife’s safe return from Russia. Your prayers and support are greatly appreciated,” Cherelle Griner wrote on Instagram Saturday night.
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Griner’s detention in Russia comes at the most critical time in America, after Russia’s recent invasion of Ukraine. The U.S. State Department issued a no travel advisory Saturday in Russia “due to the unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces in Ukraine, the potential for harassment against U.S. citizens by Russian government security officials, the Embassy’s limited ability to assist U.S. citizens in Russia, COVID-19, and related entry restrictions, terrorism, limited flights into and out of Russia, and the arbitrary enforcement of local law.”
Prior to her detention, Griner was participating in her seventh season with UMMC Ekaterinburg. Griner began playing in Russia during the 2015-16 season.
Currently, there is no news of when Griner will be released.
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