Release of Brittney Griner Shines Light on Another US Citizen in Russia

Release of Brittney Griner Shines Light on Another US Citizen in Russia

( – While Cherelle Griner celebrated the release of her wife, WNBA star Brittney Griner, at the White House alongside the president, the family of another American detained in Russia suffered yet another blow. Retired Marine Paul Whelan’s loved ones have now seen the Biden administration work diligently to get two US prisoners back from Russian detention. Promises to bring the former servicemember home keep falling flat as he continues to suffer due to charges against him.

Whelan was in Russia for a wedding in 2018 when his arrest occurred. He received a sentence of 16 years for spying on behalf of the United States. Russian officials claimed they found a flash drive containing sensitive national information in the former Marine’s possession and proved their case. He declared his innocence and decided to wait for Washington to secure his release.

Initially, US officials claimed they were working on a prisoner swap with Russia involving Griner and Whelan. According to CNN, he retired Marine even said he was “led to believe” leaders were making progress on his release. However, NBC News reported that an official said Whelan case has been handled differently due to the charges against him, and that coming to an agreement has been extremely difficult.

When giving remarks about Griner’s release on November 8, President Joe Biden proclaimed that he hasn’t “forgotten about Paul Whelan” and the administration is doing everything possible to get him home. He guaranteed the family that he would continue trying to secure the retired Marine’s release.

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