President Joe Biden and his national security adviser met Wednesday with the sister of Paul Whelan, a businessman and former Marine who claims the US government wrongfully detained him in a Russian prison, the White House said.
On Wednesday, Biden and national security adviser Jake Sullivan met with Whelan’s sister, Elizabeth Whelan, “to discuss the administration’s continued efforts to secure Paul’s release from Russia,” the White House said in a statement.
According to the White House, Biden also called Whelan’s parents.
“Since the beginning of the administration, the President has been personally involved in the release of Americans held hostage and wrongfully imprisoned around the world, including Paul Whelan and fellow American Evan Gershkovich,” the White House said.
At the time of his arrest, Whelan was working as head of global security for an auto parts supplier in Michigan. Russia sentenced him to 16 years in prison in 2020.
Gershkovich is a reporter for the Wall Street Journal was arrested in March and accused of espionage by the Russian Federal Security Service. The magazine said it “strongly denies the allegations” and stands in solidarity with Gershkovic and his family.
The United States said that Gershkovich was unjustly arrested.
Russian court in November extended the prison term Until January 30, Russian news agencies reported at that time.
“I know the US has all kinds of proposals, but it’s not what the Russians want. So they’re going back and forth like throwing spaghetti at the wall,” Whelan said, according to the BBC.
“The problem is, when they do that, my life is empty. It’s been five years!” British television said.
Russia in December 2022 WNBA star Brittney Griner has been releasedin exchange for a Russian arms dealer who was convicted on drug charges and who said the United States was wrongfully imprisoned Victor BoothConvicted by the United States and held in an American prison.