Biden administration officials are again pressing Russia to free Michigan native Paul Whelan from prison after recent comments made by Russian President Vladimir Putin about a potential prisoner swap.
U.S. officials say Whelan — who’s serving a 16-year sentence in Russia on espionage charges he vehemently denies — has been wrongfully detained. Numerous federal officials and members of Congress have called for Whelan’s release since his detainment in December 2018.
In a recent interview with former Fox News commentator , Putin said negotiations for a potential prisoner exchange that would free detained journalist Evan Gershkovich will probably be “crowned with success,” but there was no formal agreement yet.
U.S. State Department officials countered that — like Whelan — Gershkovich should have never been detained in the first place, and again demanded Russia release both him and Whelan.
In the past the U.S. said Russia had repeatedly rejected what officials called “substantial” offers to gain the Americans’ release.