Russia Declines ‘Significant’ Proposal from US to Release Two Imprisoned Americans, Reports US Politics News

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TL/DR –

The U.S. claims that Russia has rejected its substantial proposal to secure the release of Wall Street Journal correspondent Evan Gershkovich and ex-U.S. Marine Paul Whelan, both detained in Russia on alleged spying charges. State Department spokesman Matthew Miller states that there is “no higher priority” for President Biden and the Secretary of State than securing their release, with both men considered “wrongfully detained”. Despite tensions between the two nations, the U.S. arranged a prisoner swap with Russia last year, and Gershkovich and Whelan’s arrests have sparked discussions of similar arrangements.


US ‘substantial’ proposal for Journalist and Former Marine’s release rejected by Russia

The US continues to prioritize the release of Evan Gershkovich and Paul Whelan from Russian detention.

The United States has expressed that it has no higher priority than freeing Wall Street Journal correspondent Evan Gershkovich and former US Marine Paul Whelan from Russian custody, according to State Department spokesman Matthew Miller. The two men are detained in Russia on alleged spying charges.

Despite repeated proposals, including a recent substantial offer, Russia has not accepted any proposed solutions to secure the release of the two men, who the US considers wrongfully detained, said Miller. They should never have been arrested in the first place and should be immediately released, he added.

Despite strained US-Russian relations after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, America has previously arranged prisoner swaps with Russia, bringing home basketball star Brittney Griner in exchange for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated that discussions about prisoner swaps need to take place in complete silence and that they remain in contact with the US about these talks. Gershkovich, arrested in March on spying accusations by Russia, denies the charges. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted. His trial has been extended until January.

Similarly, Paul Whelan, arrested in 2018 in Moscow, was convicted of espionage in 2020 and is serving a 16-year sentence. Both Whelan and the US government deny the espionage charges. Whelan’s family reported that he was assaulted in prison last week.

Whelan was attacked at a sewing workshop in a high-security penal colony in Russia’s Mordovia region, said his brother. The Mordovia regional prison service confirmed the attack and the intervention of guards. Both prisoners were taken to the medical bay following the incident.


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