26 Jan 2023 18:03

Convicted U.S. citizen Whelan's family hopes new U.S. ambassador's arrival in Russia to intensify efforts to free him

MOSCOW. Jan 26 (Interfax) - The family of U.S. citizen Paul Whelan, convicted of espionage in Russia, hopes that the arrival of newly appointed Ambassador of the United States Lynne Tracy in Russia would facilitate his release.

"Our family are hopeful that Ambassador Lynne Tracy's arrival today in Moscow to helm the U.S. Embassy will help propel efforts forward to free Paul," Whelan's brother David told Interfax.

His brother is still able to call his family from the penitentiary in Mordovia almost every day, he said.

"We've learned from Embassy staff that a substantial number of letters and cards have arrived in Moscow for Paul. We are looking forward to hearing his reaction when Embassy staff are able to deliver the mail to him in Mordovia. Perhaps the Ambassador will be able to be part of that visit," David Whelan said.

It was reported earlier that Ambassador Tracy has arrived in Moscow.

Whelan, who is a citizen of the U.S., Ireland, and Canada and a British national, was sentenced by the Moscow City Court to 16 years in prison for espionage on June 15, 2020.