24 Apr 2023 19:05

Paul Whelan tells U.S. ambassador of concern he will not be exchanged - brother

MOSCOW. April 24 (Interfax) - The American Paul Whelan, who was convicted of espionage in Russia, has talked by telephone to United States Ambassador Lynne Tracy, his brother David said.

"In that hour-long call, he was able to express his concerns about his ongoing detention by Russia. Paul also communicated very clearly his concern that the U.S. government might bring home other American citizens from Russia and leave him behind again," David Whelan told Interfax on Monday.

Earlier, U.S. President Joe Biden said he would do everything in his power to secure Whelan's return to the U.S. For his part, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov noted that "generally speaking, there are simply no grounds to speak about anything as regards some [prisoner] exchanges."

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. He pleaded not guilty.