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California woman deported from Russia

Sarah Krivanek's departure occurred on the same day Brittney Griner was released in a prisoner swap with Russia. Unlike Griner, Krivanek was not part of a prisoner swap.
Sarah Krivanek
Sarah Krivanek at a court hearing in Ryazan, Russia, on Nov. 10, 2022.Yulia Morozova / Reuters via Alamy
/ Source: Reuters

Sarah Krivanek, a U.S. citizen ordered deported by a Russian court over a domestic dispute, has left Russia.

While aboard a plane about to leave Moscow’s airport late on Thursday, she said she was flying to Los Angeles via Dubai. The website of Moscow’s Domodedovo airport showed the aircraft had departed.

“I was taken onto the flight by four police officers, who escorted me until I boarded. I was not handcuffed, however,” Krivanek told Reuters.

Her departure occurred on the same day as the release of U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner in a prisoner swap with Russia. Unlike Griner, Krivanek was not part of a prisoner swap.

Griner was exchanged for convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, who was flown back to Moscow.

In Washington, President Joe Biden welcomed Griner’s release, ending what he called months of “hell.”

Biden said U.S. officials were still trying to secure the release of another American detained in Russia, former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan.

A court in the city of Ryazan, southeast of Moscow, ruled on Nov. 10 that Krivanek was to be deported.

Krivanek, a former English teacher from Fresno, California, was charged with assault last year for attacking her partner with a knife during a domestic dispute in which he received light facial injuries.

A human rights activist involved with the case said she acted in self-defence.

She was then detained at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport last December while about to board a flight to Atlanta in violation of an order that barred her from leaving Russia because of the assault case.