Family of Paul Whelan says continued detainment a 'catastrophe' as Griner is released

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The Biden administration quietly told the family of Paul Whelan, a US Marine veteran who has been in Russian custody since 2018, that he would not be included in a prisoner swap on Thursday that freed WNBA player Brittney Griner.

According to NBC News, Whelan’s brother David said in a statement, “That early warning meant that our family has been able to mentally prepare for what is now a public disappointment for us. And a catastrophe for Paul.”

“I do not know if he is aware yet, although he will surely learn from Russian media,” David Whelan added.

Paul Whelan did hear the news and according to CNN, he said, “I am greatly disappointed that more has not been done to secure my release, especially as the four-year anniversary of my arrest is coming up.”

In the spring the Biden administration offered to swap Griner and Whelan for convicted Russian arms trafficker Viktor Bout, also known as the ‘Merchant of Death.’ Griner was released on Thursday in a one-to-one prisoner swap with Bout that was orchestrated by the Biden administration.

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