Biden will raise issue of Whelan’s release during Geneva summit, says US embassy

MOSCOW (TASS): US President Joe Biden plans to raise the issue of US national Paul Whelan’s release during the upcoming meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva, US Charge d’Affaires in Russia Bart Gorman stated. Whelan was previously convicted of espionage against Russia.

“Today marks the 900th day of U.S. citizen #PaulWhelan’s incarceration. @POTUS [US President Joe Biden] plans to raise this important issue with President Putin at the U.S.-Russia bilateral summit in Geneva. It’s time for Paul to finally go home to the United States,” the US diplomat said, quoted by US Embassy Spokesperson Jason Rebholz on Twitter.

US citizen Paul Whelan, who also holds British, Canadian and Irish passports, was sentenced to 16 years behind bars in Russia for espionage. The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) earlier said Whelan had been detained on December 28, 2018, in Moscow while on an alleged spy mission.

Earlier, the Kremlin and the White House announced that the much-awaited summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Joe Biden would take place in Geneva, Switzerland, on June 16. According to the Kremlin, the heads of state will discuss the conditions and prospects for further fostering Russian-US relations, strategic stability matters as well as pressing issues on the international agenda, which include cooperation in fighting the pandemic and regulating regional conflicts. This will be the first face-to-face meeting between Putin and Biden since the 46th US president took office.