White House calls for release of Americans detained in Russia
Psaki Calls on Russia to Release Two Imprisoned Americans
President Biden will visit the State Department on Thursday to discuss a wide range of foreign policy issues
President Joe Biden will address a wide range of foreign policy issues during his State Department visit on Thursday. This was announced on Wednesday by White House press secretary Jen Psaki during a press briefing..
Speaking about the foreign policy agenda of the Biden administration, Jen Psaki, in particular, said that the president is discussing issues related to Russia with European allies.
White House spokeswoman stressed the need for the immediate release of Americans arrested by Russian authorities.
Recall that among US citizens held in Russia, – former Marines Paul Whelan and Trevor Reed, as well as investor Michael Calvey.
Paul Whelan was sentenced by a Russian court to sixteen years in prison on espionage charges. Trevor Reed sentenced to nine years in prison on charges of endangering the lives of two Russian police officers.
Psaki said the release of the arrested Americans would demonstrate that after the US and Russia agreed to extend START III, Russia is ready to consider «difficult questions», inherited from the past, in the context of bilateral relations.
During the briefing, Psaki reiterated that, according to President Biden, the United States should work closely with its allies on the issue of relations with China. She recalled that Secretary of State Anthony Blinken called the US-China relationship the most important relationship in the world for the United States..
In turn, at a briefing on Wednesday, State Department spokesman Ned Price, answering a question about the state of health of Paul Whelan, said that now he could not disclose details. «private conversation» the secretary of state and the family members of the Americans being held. This conversation took place yesterday.
«As for Paul Whelan, the well-being and safety of US citizens is again our top priority.. – emphasized Ned Price. – The Russian authorities convicted Paul Whelan in a closed and classified trial, depriving him of a key protection, namely transparency (legal proceedings). The trial was a mockery of justice, the Russian authorities do not provide evidence of guilt and do not allow Whelan to call witnesses to his defense. Whelan is serving a 16-year prison sentence in a Russian penal colony. We are of course still concerned about Whelan’s well-being and safety, and we will continue to speak on Whelan’s behalf until the Russian government finally does the right thing and sends Whelan home to his family (in the US)».
Price added that American officials in both Washington and Moscow are in regular contact with the Whelan family and are doing everything they can to facilitate his access to U.S. consular offices in Russia and to secure Paul Whelan’s return to his homeland..