Russian Detainee Paul Whelan Responds After Being Left out of Brittney Griner Deal

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

As we reported earlier, Joe Biden made a deal to get basketball player Brittney Griner back from Russia by trading the “Merchant of Death” Viktor Bout for her. It was a tremendously lopsided deal, given what Bout has done and the continuing danger he could pose to the world. Even a sycophant for the Democrats like Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) saw a big problem with trading Bout for Griner, as well as a potential danger for the future.


Maybe the U.S. wants to consider why Russia is so anxious to get the “Merchant of Death” back and how they might use him. This deal also gives Russia a great incentive to grab Americans wrongfully, knowing that they can be leveraged to get their criminal terrorists back from Joe Biden.

Meanwhile, it seems that U.S. Marine and longtime Russian prisoner Paul Whelan has been left out of this deal, with just a few mentions from the Biden team that they will still be working for his release. But if you have a big trading card like Bout, saying that you’re going to keep trying to get Whelan released is just an excuse to make it sound like you care. You played your cards and sold him down the river in the deal.

Whelan’s been detained since 2018 – far longer than Griner – and he didn’t commit a crime.

While the Whelan family was being gracious about it, saying they’re glad that Griner is free, they said they were “devastated.”

“Despite the possibility that there might be an exchange without Paul, our family is still devastated. I can’t even fathom how Paul will feel when he learns. Paul has worked so hard to survive nearly 4 years of this injustice,” he said in the statement.


Whelan himself told CNN that he was “greatly disappointed” to be left behind.

“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. I was arrested for a crime that never occurred,” he said in an exclusive phone call from the penal colony where is being held in a remote part of Russia. “I don’t understand why I’m still sitting here.”

Whelan said he was happy that Griner was released but told CNN he “was led to believe that things were moving in the right direction, and that the governments were negotiating and that something would happen fairly soon.”

When asked if he was surprised not to have been included in the swap for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, he told CNN he was.

Whelan said they cast him as a spy and gave him a 16-year sentence.

Whelan said he hopes that President Joe Biden and his administration “would do everything they could to get me home, regardless of the price they might have to pay at this point.”

“I would say that if a message could go to President Biden, that this is a precarious situation that needs to be resolved quickly,” he said.

“My bags are packed. I’m ready to go home. I just need an airplane to come and get me,” he said.

Whelan said he would like to speak to Biden directly, noting he had spoken to an administration official earlier in the day about the situation, but “I think that message really needs to go to people like the president so they understand personally what I’m dealing with and what we deal with in these foreign prisons and under these circumstances.”

“It’s quite obvious that I’m being held hostage,” he said.


Unfortunately for him, all he’s going to get from Biden is a verbal nod that they “care.” He didn’t count enough on their priority list when it came to the final call in this deal. He was just a Marine and not a basketball player who checks any Democratic boxes.


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