Paul Whelan, convicted in Russia of espionage in 2020, accused the American authorities of abandoning and betraying him, writes the BBC. In his opinion, the United States could have exchanged him several times already.
I know that the United States makes a variety of proposals, but this is not what Russia wants. So they walk around in circles, like throwing spaghetti at the wall, to see what sticks. The problem is that while they are doing this, my life is going away. It’s been five years,” Whelan said.
He called the whole situation a “serious betrayal” on the part of Washington. According to Whelan, the Donald Trump administration has consistently refused to exchange him for Viktor Bout. As a result, in December 2022, Booth, after 14 years in an American prison, was exchanged for basketball player Brittney Greiner.
It is very stressful to know that you could have returned home many years ago. It’s very frustrating to realize that they made all these mistakes. Essentially, I was abandoned here,” Whelan concluded.
In early December, it was reported that the United States had submitted to Russia a new significant proposal to exchange Paul Whelan, convicted of espionage, and Evan Gershkovich, a journalist for The Wall Street Journal, arrested on similar charges. Miller said the proposal was rejected by Moscow. However, he did not provide details on the proposal presented by the United States. Miller emphasized that Washington has channels for contacts with Moscow and the United States will continue to seek the release of its citizens.