Secretary of State Speaks with American Detained in Russia

Paul Whelan was sentenced to 16 years in prison for alleged spying.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with U.S. citizen and Marine Paul Whelan over the phone on Wednesday. Secretary Blinken told him that officials in the Department of State are doing everything they can to release him from Russian imprisonment and bring him home “as soon as possible.”

Whelan, who has British, Irish, and Canadian citizenship as well as American, was first arrested in Russia in 2018, where he was held in Moscow for two years and sentenced in 2020 to 16 years of jail time for alleged spying. The United States believes he is “wrongfully detained,” but has not yet heard a meaningful response from Russia regarding Whelan’s release.

“I think that Secretary Blinken has obviously sent a message and that message is for Paul and for our family, that the U.S. government is continuing to advocate for Paul and his release,” Paul’s brother David Whelan said later. He added, “I think it’s also a message for the Kremlin that the US government hasn’t let up and in fact, their lead foreign policy person is willing to call a prisoner, which is, I think, astounding.”

As the Lord Leads, Pray with Us…

  • For Secretary Blinken to seek the Lord’s direction as he heads negotiations for the release of U.S. citizens detained internationally.
  • For the president and State Department officials as they evaluate terms to return Americans from wrongful imprisonment.
  • For the Americans who are being held in hostile countries.
  • For U.S. citizens to be prudent in their travels and decisions visiting or living in foreign nations.

Sources: Reuters, CNN


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