Viktor Bout has revealed details about his encounter with Brittney Griner during their prisoner exchange.
Bout said he wished her luck and felt that she “had a positive inclination” towards him.
Bout is a convicted arms dealer who was traded by the United States to Russia for WNBA star Griner.
Viktor Bout, the convicted arms dealer the United States traded to Russia for WNBA star Brittney Griner, has revealed what he said to him while exchanging weapons on the tarmac at Abu Dhabi airport.
“I wished him luck. She even reached out her hand to me,” Bout told Russian state broadcaster RT in his first interview on Saturday, according to Reuters.
“Again, it is our tradition. I should wish everyone good fortune and happiness,” she said, adding that she believed Griner was “positively inclined” towards him.
A video posted this week showed the moment the pair traded on the track. Bout and Griner can be seen walking towards each other, each accompanied by people.
The groups stop to talk briefly, and some of the people accompanying Griner shake hands with Bout before they go their separate ways.
For his interview on Saturday, Bout sat down with Maria Butina, who was previously jailed in the United States for 14 months for acting as an unregistered Russian agent and is now a lawmaker and TV host.
They also discussed the war in Ukraine, which Bout said he supported and wished Moscow could have done sooner.
“If I had the opportunity and the required skills, I would join as a volunteer,” he said.
He also revealed that he had a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin in his prison cell.
“Yes always. Why not? I am proud to be Russian and that our president is Putin,” he said, according to CNN.
fight was a prominent international arms dealer arrested in 2008 in a sting operation.
He was sentenced to 25 years in prison in 2011 and had served less than half of that sentence when he was traded to Griner.
Griner has yet to issue a public statement since arriving home, but he was “in great spirits” and “incredibly gracious,” John Kirby, the spokesman for the National Security Council, told CNN.
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