Day 1120 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - January 21, 2022 - Secretary Blinken Comments

Today is Paul's 1,120th day as a Russian hostage. Our family has seen a significant change in the past year, President Biden's first in office. The continued engagement of his administration with the Russian Federation has reassured us that Paul's arbitrary detention, while clearly difficult to resolve, is not forgotten.

Secretary Blinken continued this engagement with his remarks in Geneva when meeting with Foreign Minister Lavrov. We appreciate that the White House continues to make Paul's and Trevor Reed's cases a priority in its bilateral discussions with the Russian government. We hope that the State Department, the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs, and other US agencies will continue to press for the release of American citizens arbitrarily detained abroad.

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Quoting from the State Department readout:
"I also want to say, Sergey, that we need to talk about two U.S. citizens, Paul Whelan and Trevor Reed, who were tourists in Russia, were arrested, convicted without credible evidence, and we again ask Russia to do the right thing and let them come home."

These sorts of public displays of support and concern for Paul give him and our family hope and buoy our resolve to work for his freedom. It's a reminder that every American citizen should matter to members of Congress and the White House. I'm grateful that the U.S. government continues to raise Paul's case, even when faced with Russian brinksmanship.