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Secretary of State Antony Blinken recently spoke with Paul Whelan, the former Marine who has been jailed in Russia for more than five years, Blinken said Tuesday.
Blinken spoke on the phone with Whelan on Monday, he said during an event on hostage diplomacy in Washington D.C.
But he provided few details about what he discussed with Whelan. The U.S. government, Whelan and his family maintain that he was unjustly accused and convicted after being arrested on espionage charges in Russia in 2018 and later sentenced to 16 years in prison.
“Our intensive efforts to bring Paul home continue every single day. And they will until he and Evan Gershkovich and every other American wrongfully detained [are] back with their loved ones,” Blinken said, also referencing the Wall Street Journal reporter who was arrested in Russia last March.
In December, Whelan told BBC that he felt “abandoned” by the U.S.
“I know the U.S. [has] all sorts of proposals, but it’s not what the Russians want,” Whelan told the British news outlet. “They go back and forth, like throwing spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks.”
He called the situation “extremely stressful,” and said that he felt the U.S. had “basically abandoned me here.”