Day 1658 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - July 13, 2023 - US Government Perseveres

We're grateful to President Biden for extending the state of emergency around wrongful detention and hostage taking.  [ White House, July 12, 2023 ; Message to Congress, July 12, 2023; 87 FR 43389 (Executive Order 14078) ]  Paul has spent 1,658 days as a Russian hostage and the 2022 Executive Order provides for a number of tools for the U.S. government to hold hostage takers to account as well as to reinforce support for the hostages and secure their freedom. It is good that those do not lapse.

We've also been glad to see the statements from Secretary Blinken (to MSNBC and CBS) and Press Secretary Jean-Pierre about the White House's continued focus on bringing Paul home.  We have communicated to Paul the Press Secretary's words to "keep the faith."  Paul is doing the best he can to do that very thing and survive until he's free.  

Personally, I appreciated National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan's frank words

I do not want to give false hope.  What the Kremlin said earlier this week is correct: There have been discussions.  But those discussions have not produced a clear pathway to a resolution, and so I cannot stand here today and tell you that we have a clear answer to how we are going to get Evan home. All I can do is tell you that we have a clear commitment and conviction that we will do everything possible to bring him home.

As Secretary Blinken and Mr. Sullivan's comments note, there continue to be contacts.  We hope that these continued contacts between the U.S. government and the Kremlin will eventually lead to Paul's release.