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A Russian court sentenced US basketball star Brittney Griner to nine years in prison on August 4, 2022, after finding her guilty of bringing cannabis-infused vape cartridges into the country. US President Joe Biden has called the ruling “unacceptable”, but some analysts say the sentencing could pave the way for a US-Russia prisoner swap that would include the 31-year-old athlete and a Russian arms dealer jailed in America. When Griner was arrested February 17, the two-time Olympic gold medallist and Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) star was thrown into the centre of geopolitical maelstrom when Russian President Vladimir Putin sent troops into Ukraine on February 24.

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