Brittney Griner Aug 8, 2021; Saitama, Japan; United States centre Brittney Griner (15) reacts against Japan in the women’s basketball gold medal match during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Saitama Super Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

Last year, WNBA superstar Brittney Griner was released after nearly 10 months in Russian custody thanks to a prisoner swap that sent convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout back to Russia. And now, the arms dealer — known as “The Merchant of Death” — is speaking out about meeting Griner.

During a recent interview with ESPN, Viktor Bout opened up about the actual prisoner swap, detailing his encounter with Brittney Griner and what he said to the WNBA star.

“So, they put the two planes together, give us some instruction, went down, and here you are,” Bout told ESPN. “Somebody showed up from Russian side saying, ‘Hi, is everything fine?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ So he identified me, and then couple minutes afterwards, the exchange literally happened.”

“Admittedly, I was a little shocked seeing her without her signature braids. She was way taller than me. I just shake the hand, I said to her, ‘I wish you good luck.’ And we both went to our planes,” he said.

Bout made it clear that he sympathized with Griner for her situation, admitting that she was “used as a pawn.”

“Of course, I feel, you know, bad or sorry for any person who’s going to be used as a pawn, despite whether they committed something or not,” Bout said. “Publicity is a, like, multiplying factor which can really kill you if you are not strong enough to handle it.”

Bout said that sometimes people like Griner or himself “pay a price” because politicians try to “play chess, on this big chessboard which they call geopolitics.”

[Fox News]