Washington: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement that the Biden administration will not cease efforts to return US citizen Paul Whelan to the United States from his detention in Russia.
“December 28 marks five years since Russian authorities wrongfully detained US citizen Paul Whelan,” the statement said on Wednesday. “Since President Biden took office, the United States has secured the release of more than forty wrongful detainees, and not a day goes by without intensive US Government efforts to bring Paul home. We will not rest until he is safely back with his family where he belongs.”
Earlier this month, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the Kremlin hopes to reach a mutually acceptable prisoner exchange deal with the US to return Whelan and Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich.
Russian authorities arrested Whelan in 2018 and subsequently sentenced him to 16 years in prison on espionage charges, which he denies.