US Ambassador to Russia Lynne Tracy visited Marine veteran Paul Whelan who was imprisoned in Russia for espionage. Further reports say Whelan was serving a 16-year sentence after being convicted in 2020.On September 13, US Ambassador to Russia Lynne Tracy visited U.S. Marine veteran Paul Whelan, 53, who was imprisoned and serving a sentence of 16 years for espionage. Reports say Whelan was detained in Moscow in 2018 and was convicted of espionage in 2020.
An article in the Marine Corps Times states that according to Spokesman Matthew Miller of the State Department, the US Ambassador to Russia traveled to a penal colony around 350 kilometers east of Moscow to visit Whelan. Further reports say apart from the US Ambassador to Russia. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken also had a call with Whelan around a month ago to inform him that they are working hard to bring him home.
Other Americans Imprisoned in Russia
According to an article in Military Times, in December 2022, during the negotiations on the prisoner exchange that released American basketball player Brittney Griner from a prison in Russia, the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden also attempted to secure the freedom of Whelan.
Further reports say on March 29, Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich was also imprisoned in Russia after being accused of attempting to obtain classified information. Ultimately, analysts alluded that Moscow may be using imprisoned Americans as leverage amidst the rising tensions between the U.S. and Russia over the Kremlin’s military operation in Ukraine.