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Blinken speaks with Paul Whelan, American detained in Russia: CNN

Secretary of State Antony Blinken called detained American and former marine Paul Whelan on Wednesday, a source told CNN, according to the network.

Blinken reportedly told Whelan, who has been detained in Russia since 2018 for alleged espionage, to “keep the faith, and we’re doing everything we can to bring you home as soon as possible.” The source also told CNN this was the second call between the cabinet official and the American detainee. 

The Biden administration has faced criticism from the right for being able to free WNBA star Brittney Griner but not Whelan from Russian custody during a prisoner swap in December 2022. Whelan’s family defended the administration’s efforts amidst attacks from former President Donald Trump on its attempts to free the former marine.

Whelan’s brother, David, went after Trump in a post on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, due to his criticism of the swap that returned Griner to the U.S. 

“Former President Trump appears to have mentioned my brother #PaulWhelan’s wrongful detention more in the last 24 hours than he did in the 2 years of his presidency in which Paul was held hostage by #Russia,” David Whelan wrote in his post.

Source: The Hill

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