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Tags: brittney griner | paul whelan | viktor bout | putin

Putin: 'Everything Is Possible' for Future Exchanges, Paul Whelan

(Newsmax)

By    |   Sunday, 11 December 2022 11:28 AM EST

The Biden administration says Russia will be open to talks surrounding the release of former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan, who was not freed with WNBA basketball player Brittney Griner, because “they have things they want in this world,” according to a senior administration official.

Russia has refused what the U.S. had offered to release Whelan, who has been imprisoned on espionage charges since 2018.

“We have shown an openness to talk about that which is actually available to us and gotten only in response a demand for something that was not available to us,” the official said.

After Griner landed in Texas on Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said more prisoner exchanges between the two nations could be possible.

He said “everything is possible” when asked about future exchanges, noting “compromises have been found” in order to exchange Brittney Griner for arms dealer Viktor Bout.

“We aren’t refusing to continue this work in the future,” Putin added.

“Whether this could set the stage for a dialogue with the U.S. is a separate issue,” the Russian president said. “We didn’t set the task to move from those talks to something else, but they do create a certain atmosphere.”

On Thursday, Whelan said he did not understand why he was still being held in a Russian penal colony while Griner was headed back to America.

Griner was detained in February at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport after Russian authorities found cannabis oil vape cartridges in her suitcase.

Griner insisted she had packed the cannabis oil by mistake and pleaded guilty to drug charges sentencing her to nine years in a forced labor camp in Mordovia.

“I am greatly disappointed that more has not been done to secure my release, especially as the four-year anniversary of my arrest is coming up,” said Whelan.

“I was arrested for a crime that never occurred,” he added. “I don’t understand why I’m still sitting here.”

On Thursday, President Biden said the swap “was not a choice of which American to bring home.”

“We’ve not forgotten about Paul Whelan. We will keep negotiating in good faith for Paul’s release,” he added.

The Biden administration originally proposed to Russia a deal that would release both Griner and Whelan, but the deal ended up being a one-for-one between Griner and Bout.

© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


Newsfront
The Biden administration says Russia will be open to talks surrounding the release of former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan, who was not freed with WNBA basketball player Brittney Griner, because "they have things they want in this world," according to a senior administration...
brittney griner, paul whelan, viktor bout, putin
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2022-28-11
Sunday, 11 December 2022 11:28 AM
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