U.S. consular officials visit Paul Whelan in Russia prison -embassy

FILE PHOTO: Verdict hearing of former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan, who was detained and accused of espionage, in Moscow
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MOSCOW (Reuters) - The United States embassy in Russia said on Wednesday that U.S. consular officials visited Paul Whelan, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who is imprisoned in Russia for espionage, in prison in the Mordovia region.

In a statement published on the Telegram messaging app, the embassy said: "Today, consular officers of the U.S. embassy in Moscow visited the wrongfully detained US citizen Paul Whelan at IK-17 in Mordovia".

Whelan, who had been a regular visitor to Russia, was arrested in Moscow in 2018 and charged with spying.

He was convicted and sentenced to 16 years in prison in 2020. Both Whelan and the U.S. government have denied the charges against him.

The White House has designated him as wrongfully detained, essentially saying the charges are bogus. It has said the same of Evan Gershkovich, a Wall Street Journal reporter held by Russia since March 2023 and charged with spying.

(Writing by Felix Light; Editing by Sharon Singleton)