He said this after today’s exchange of prisoners between Russia and the United States, including the American basketball player Brittney Greiner and the Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, reports BTA.
“I am deeply disappointed that more was not done to secure my release, especially as we approach the fourth anniversary of my detention. I was arrested for a non-existent crime,” Whelan said.
The decision by the Biden administration to agree to release Russian Viktor Bout, known as the Merchant of Death, came amid mounting pressure to bring home Brittney Greiner, the most prominent US citizen held in a foreign prison. Such an exchange had been rumored for months.
However, the one-on-one format is surprising given the fact that US officials had expressed their determination to bring Greiner and Whelan home together. The ex-Marine’s lawyer confirmed today that his client is in a Russian prison. Negotiations for the release of Paul Whelan are continuing, he added, quoted by Reuters.
Joe Biden has made it clear that he has not given up trying to secure Whelan’s release.
“Unfortunately, and for completely illegitimate reasons, Russia is treating Paul’s case differently than Britney’s. And although we have not yet been able to secure Paul’s release, we are not giving up. We will never give up,” Biden said. quoted by Reuters. The American president pointed out that the sentence of the former military man was completely fabricated, reported AFP.
Paul Whelan’s family welcomes Britney Greiner’s release. At the same time, it added in a statement that it would face a fourth consecutive Christmas without Whelan himself.