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US ambassador to Russia to go to Paul Whelan, jailed on espionage prices

Former US Marine Paul Whelan, who was detained and accused of espionage, in Moscow, Russia. Reuters.

The US ambassador to Russia will go to Paul Whelan, a former marine jailed by Moscow on espionage prices, in jail, the embassy mentioned on Wednesday.

Arrested in 2018 in Russia, Whelan was convicted of espionage in 2020 and sentenced to 16 years in a jail facility in Mordovia, a Russian area infamous since Soviet instances for its penal colonies.

Each Whelan and the US authorities have denied that he’s a spy.

“Ambassador (Lynne) Tracy travels to Penal Colony 17 in Mordovia to visit illegally detained US citizen Paul Whelan,” the embassy mentioned in a publish on the Telegram messaging app.

“The plight of US citizens detained in Russia remains a top priority for the US government, and we reiterate our call for Paul’s immediate release,” it mentioned.

The US embassy didn’t say when Tracy would go to Whelan. She has additionally made three visits in latest months to Evan Gershkovich, a Wall Road Journal reporter who was arrested in Russia in March and likewise faces spying prices that he denies.

The Biden administration has designated each males as “wrongfully detained”, that means that it considers that the costs are baseless and that the pair had been focused primarily as a result of they’re Americans.

Whelan was seen in a uncommon video broadcast late final month by a Kremlin-backed information channel. The White Home mentioned it was “reassuring” to see him wanting apparently “unbowed”.

Final month, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke over cellphone with Whelan. The Biden administration has repeatedly mentioned it’s doing all the things it may possibly to carry him residence.

The Biden administration has carried out two prisoner swaps with Russia amid frosty bilateral ties as a result of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. Most not too long ago, Washington secured the discharge of US basketball star Brittney Griner in December 2022 in change for arms vendor Viktor Bout.



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