US marks anniversary of Paul Whelan’s detention

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement Wednesday that securing Whelan’s release remains a top administration priority.

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National News

December 28, 2022 - 4:38 PM

Paul Whelan, a former U.S. Marine accused of espionage and arrested in Russia, listens to his lawyers while standing inside a defendants' cage in a Moscow courtroom during a hearing in 2019. (Mladen Antonov/AFP/Getty Images/TNS)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration is marking the four-year anniversary of the detention in Russia of American businessman Paul Whelan, whose continued imprisonment is one of several major irritants in tattered relations between Washington and Moscow.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement Wednesday that securing Whelan’s release remains a top administration priority.

U.S. officials had hoped to include Whelan in a prisoner swap earlier this month in which they traded detained WNBA star Brittney Griner for a convicted Russian arms dealer, Viktor Bout. The administration considers Whelan, like Griner, to have been wrongfully detained.

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