Ambassador Jon Huntsman visited Paul today at Lefortovo prison. Tomorrow, he leaves Moscow and his role as the US Ambassador to the Russian Federation, and Paul loses his staunchest advocate in the U.S. State Department. Our family is grateful to the Ambassador for his leadership and support of Paul over the past 9 months.
The visit lasted an hour and a half. Afterwards, Ambassador Huntsman [Check Interfax EN 10/02/2019 5:40:53 and 5:54:51 PM MSK for quotes] noted that "[t]he U.S. government is raising this issue at the highest level" and that the introduction of resolutions in both chambers of Congress was "an extraordinary step." He added, "we call on the Russian authorities to let Paul go home to his family."
Ambassador Huntsman saw Paul on January 2d, 2019, 4 days after his arrest, at the very first opportunity the Russian police gave anyone to visit Paul and find out what had happened. The Ambassador continued to go to Lefortovo to check on Paul's condition [this was his 3d visit] and use his role to speak out about Paul's mistreatment and the Russian police's lack of evidence. [https://www.rferl.org/a/
ambassador-huntsman-russia/ 29877138.html; https:// twitter.com/USEmbRuPress/ status/1177949372073566209]
We hope that it will not be long before there is a new ambassador to provide the same leadership and advocacy for Americans caught up, as Paul is, in the Russian Federation's use of foreign citizens as political pawns. But we know that the excellent care and support the U.S. Embassy staff have given Paul during Ambassador Huntsman's tenure will continue as long as Paul's wrongful detention does. Hopefully the need for American Citizen Services to provide consular support to Paul will come to an end soon and he will be returned home to our family.