WNBA Star Brittney Griner's Legal Issues In Russia Explained

The world was turned upside down when Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an attack on the country of Ukraine on February 24. In reaction to this act of aggression, powerful countries around the world, including the United States, have enacted sanctions to harm Russian business, per CNN. As tensions have been escalating over the last few months, President Joe Biden called for American citizens who live in Russia to return to the United States before war broke out, per the BBC. Most recently, at a press conference on March 6, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged Americans to leave Russia.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy himself has somehow managed to survive three assassination attempts, per the New York Post. So it's not unreasonable for U.S. citizens to be wary of being intentionally targeted because they are American. And some suspect this is what has happened to the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury player Brittney Griner.

So, what exactly was Griner arrested for, and will she be able to get back to the United States safely?

Russia arrested Brittney Griner on cannabis vape charges

According to The New York Times, the Russian Federal Customs Service revealed Brittney Griner was arrested at a Russian airport because the airport security found cartridges containing cannabis inside of her luggage. In Russia, this offense has an up to 10-year prison sentence, per Good Morning America.

The U.S. Olympic gold medalist was in Russia because she was playing on the UMMC Ekaterinburg team in addition to being in the WNBA, per ESPN. Regardless of the reason she was arrested, some are worried about Griner's safety as she waits in detention in the Russian prison system. "Whenever an American is detained anywhere in the world, we of course stand ready to provide every possible assistance," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said at a press conference. "And that includes in Russia."

Griner's wife, Cherelle, has also been hard at work to get the basketball star back home, per the Daily Mail. As the events unfold in Ukraine, the world will be watching every move Russia makes, so hopefully Griner will be able to get a fair trial in Russia.