Paul Whelan's Family Meets With Biden Following Griner's Release: Report
The family of retired U.S. Marine Paul Whelan met with President Joe Biden following the release of WNBA player Brittney Griner from Russia, according to a report.
A senior White House official told The Hill White House and State Department officials met with Whelan’s family to discuss renewed calls for his release from Russian custody.
State Department spokesman Ned Price announced during a briefing Monday the country would be “creative” to secure Whelan’s release.
“We are going to be relentless in working with Paul Whelan’s family, his loved ones, and in turn with the Russians to do everything we can to see this case resolved as soon as we can,” Price explained.
State now says it's going to be "creative" to secure the release of Paul Whelan. @StateDeptSpox: "We are going to be relentless in working with Paul Whelan's family, his loved ones, and in turn with the Russians to do everything we can to see this case resolved as soon as we can"
— Nick Kalman (@NickKalmanFN) December 12, 2022
Griner was released as part of a one-for-one prisoner swap for international arms dealer Viktor Bout last week after being held on drug charges, as IJR reported.
Whelan, who has been detained in Russia since 2018 after Russian authorities claimed he was involved in an intelligence operation, shared his reaction to Griner’s release.
“I am greatly disappointed that more has not been done to secure my release, especially as the four year anniversary of my arrest is coming up. I was arrested for a crime that never occurred,” he said last week.
He added, “I don’t understand why I’m still sitting here.”
While Whelan said he was happy for Griner’s release, he said he was “led to believe that things were moving in the right direction, and that the governments were negotiating and that something would happen fairly soon.”
CNN reported Griner arrived at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio last week and is currently staying with her wife in a residential environment on the base.
Her agent, Lindsay Kagawa Colas, told the outlet Griner is “upbeat, thankful and hopeful” upon her return to the United States.
She will reportedly be receiving both physical and psychological support from the government to help her readjust.
“She’s had a lot of psychological support,” Colas said. “The resources are very robust. It’s very supportive and very BG centered. It’s about her developing agency.”
Griner also wants to user her power to help Whelan.
“It was one of the first things she asked me about,” Colas told CNN. “She’s very, very concerned about that. And will be sending a message to Paul.”
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