Canadian citizens Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig are returning to Canada nearly three years after they were arrested in China, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Friday evening.
"These two men have gone through an unbelievably difficult ordeal," Trudeau said in Ottawa. "For the past 1,000 days, they have shown strength, perseverance, resilience and grace."
Spavor and Kovrig boarded their flight at about 7:30 p.m. ET, Trudeau said. They are being accompanied by Dominic Barton, Canada's ambassador to China.
The 'two Michaels' were detained in what is widely considered a retaliatory act after the Chinese tech executive Meng Wangzhou was arrested in Vancouver on Dec. 1, 2018, at the request of the U.S. government.
Meng reached a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. government earlier Friday, setting off a quick chain of events that saw her extradition case dropped by a B.C. court and concluded with her departure from the Vancouver airport, also about 7:30 p.m. ET.