Brittney Griner’s wife pleads for her release from Russia: ‘One of the weakest moments of my life’

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The wife of US basketball player Brittney Griner said she was going through one of the “weakest moments” of her life as the WNBA player remained in detention in Russia after being arrested in Moscow last month.

In an Instagram post on Saturday, Cherelle Griner said: “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.”

“I love my wife wholeheartedly, so this message comes during one of the weakest moments of my life. I understand that many of you have grown to love BG over the years and have concerns and want details. Please honour our privacy as we continue to work on getting my wife home safely,” she added.

On Saturday, the Russian Federal Customs Service announced said that the 31-year-old basketball player was arrested at the Sheremetyevo Alexander S Pushkin International Airport some time last month, after vape cartridges containing hashish oil were allegedly found in her bag.

While the customs services did not reveal Ms Griner’s name, Russian news agency TASS identified the athlete.

Ms Griner is a member of the WNBA team the Phoenix Mercury and a two-time Olympic gold medalist.

If convicted on drug smuggling charges, Ms Griner, faces up to 10 years in a Russian prison.

Her arrest comes amid heightened tensions between the US and Russia over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February when president Vladimir Putin announced a “special military operation.”

In the last twelve days, 1.5 million Ukrainians have fled their homes, in what is being described as the swiftest exodus this century, as there have been no signs of shelling, rocket and missile attacks abating. Key Ukrainian cities have come under attack.

Ms Griner’s arrest caused outrage on social media with many suspecting that the player is being used as leverage by Russia.

The basketball player has also spent her winters competing in Russia for the past seven years, most recently for the team UMMC Ekaterinburg.

The WNBA has also issued a statement saying that their priority remains to ensure her safe and swift return to the US.

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