Tags: paul whelan | brittney griner | russia | biden

Paul Whelan Disappointed 'More Has Not Been Done' to Secure His Release

By    |   Thursday, 08 December 2022 01:50 PM EST

Russian detained retired U.S. Marine Paul Whelan seemed to criticize the Biden administration on Thursday that "more has not been done" to secure his release after hearing the news Brittney Griner was returning home.

"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," Whelan told CNN from a prison in remote Russia.

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

Whelan said he was surprised he was not a part of the prisoner swap that included WNBA star, Brittney Griner.

The Biden administration had reportedly considered an exchange with both detainees for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, but Russia pushed for a one-to-one swap.

Whelan, who had been in custody since December 2018, said he was "led to believe that things were moving in the right direction and that the governments were negotiating and that something would happen fairly soon."

Whelan’s attorney Vladimir Zherebenkov told NBC News on Thursday that he remains confident that his client will be exchanged for a Russian prisoner "in the next month or two."

"The Russian side offered an exchange one-to-one. And the American side then chose to exchange Griner because, firstly, she is a woman, and this is more humane, and secondly, she is an Olympic champion. That is, more significant for them," said Zherebenkov.

"And Paul is an officer, a soldier, and naturally it is easier for him to be in custody. Apparently, that was the thinking — and therefore the priority was given to Griner."

Whelan's brother echoed his sentiment of "disappointment."

"It is so important to me that it is clear that we do not begrudge Ms. Griner her freedom," he said. "It has always been a strong possibility that one might be freed without the other."

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Russian detained retired U.S. Marine Paul Whelan seemed to criticize the Biden administration on Thursday that "more has not been done" to secure his release after hearing the news Brittney Griner was returning home.
paul whelan, brittney griner, russia, biden
312
2022-50-08
Thursday, 08 December 2022 01:50 PM
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