Day 1525 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - March 2, 2023 - Secretary Blinken Speaks Up

Paul's birthday is on Sunday.  He will turn 53 as a hostage in a Russian labor colony.  It's his 5th birthday as a captive.  The heat has been turned off in the barracks, despite the sub-zero Celsius temperatures in Mordovia.  Inmates are wearing several layers of clothes to keep warm.  The prison seems willing to cutback on everything: food, heat, bathing, human rights.
He will be glad to hear that Secretary Blinken continues to advocate for Paul's freedom">in a brief conversation with Foreign Minister Lavrov at the G20.  There have been three constants in the past few years.  The first is the Biden Administration's advocacy for Paul's release, sometimes publicly, sometimes not.  Secretary Blinken's interaction with Foreign Minister Lavrov only highlights this ongoing activity.  Our family is grateful that the Secretary of State took this high profile, rare opportunity to include Paul's freedom in his discussions with Kremlin representatives.
The second is that the Kremlin continues to stall on having the discussions with the U.S. government that would resolve Paul's case and bring him home.  We hope that Secretary Blinken's comment may lead to discussions about a resolution.
The third is that Paul continues to suffer.  His story is a geo-political hostage taking and involves the U.S. trying to rescue its citizen from another nation.  But it is also about an individual human.  So for all the statecraft and stonewalling, our brother languishes for another birthday and however many more milestones as a Russian hostage.  We hope that Paul will be coming home soon.