Skip to main content
Tags: paul whelan | russia | us | prisoner swaps

Paul Whelan 'Extremely Concerned About Being Left Behind' Again

By    |   Thursday, 28 December 2023 05:30 PM EST

American Paul Whelan said he is "extremely concerned about being left behind" in Russia again, as the Biden administration looks to cut a deal with the Kremlin to release U.S. detainees.

In one of several phone calls over the Christmas holiday, Whelan told WTOP that the Russians are "adamant" about doing "one-for-one exchanges," which he worries will result in Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich's release and not his own.

"At this point, the five-year mark, I'm extremely concerned about being left behind a third time," Whelan said. "I'm concerned that the Biden administration will work out a deal for Evan to be returned home, leaving me here a third time."

Whelan, a former Marine who was working as a security guard when he was arrested in 2018, said Moscow's "false narrative" that he is a "brigadier general and a secret agent" sent to Russia "on a secret mission" isn't helping matters.

"They want an assassin for me," he told WTOP. "It's ridiculous that we've gotten to this point in hostage situations."

Last week, Whelan said he felt abandoned by the Biden administration and called the White House's failure to secure his freedom a "serious betrayal."

If Gershkovich is released before him, Whelan said, "it could significantly limit the options they have for my future release."

Russian President Vladimir Putin said earlier this month that Moscow is working to arrange a prisoner swap that would include both Whelan and Gershkovich. The State Department said a couple weeks ago, however, that Russia rejected a "significant proposal" to secure the release of both imprisoned Americans.

The White House responded to WTOP's request for comment with a statement from the National Security Council.

"In the cases of Paul Whelan and Evan Gershkovich, we have made and will continue to make significant offers for them, including one earlier this month," NSC spokesperson Adrienne Watson said. "We also continue our conversations with third party countries as we work to find a way to secure their release."

Whelan said the longer the prisoner exchange discussions "are allowed to go on, the more complicated and harder it is for them to be resolved."

Sentenced to 16 years in prison for espionage, Whelan has denied the charges as has the U.S.

Under the Biden administration, he was left out of two prisoner swaps between Washington and Moscow, with the U.S. bringing home Marine veteran Trevor Reed in April 2022 and WNBA player Brittney Griner later that year.

Reed was traded for a Russian convicted on drug charges and Griner was exchanged for convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.

Nicole Wells

Nicole Wells, a Newsmax general assignment reporter covers news, politics, and culture. She is a National Newspaper Association award-winning journalist.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


Newsfront
American Paul Whelan said he is "extremely concerned about being left behind" in Russia again, as the Biden administration looks to cut a deal with the Kremlin to release U.S. detainees.
paul whelan, russia, us, prisoner swaps
430
2023-30-28
Thursday, 28 December 2023 05:30 PM
Newsmax Media, Inc.

Sign up for Newsmax’s Daily Newsletter

Receive breaking news and original analysis - sent right to your inbox.

(Optional for Local News)
Privacy: We never share your email address.
Join the Newsmax Community
Read and Post Comments
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
 
TOP

Interest-Based Advertising | Do not sell or share my personal information

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved
Download the NewsmaxTV App
Get the NewsmaxTV App for iOS Get the NewsmaxTV App for Android Scan QR code to get the NewsmaxTV App
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved