Moscow slams the Senate’s call to free American detainees in Russia, telling them to look at their own problems.
The Russian government has retaliated against the US Senate Foreign Affairs Committee for reiterating American demands for the release of two Marine Corps veterans who are imprisoned in Russia.
Trevor Reed, 30, and Paul Whelan, 51, have been held in Russia for over two years on allegations that their families and US officials claim were made up to use them as negotiating chips.
Their situations were raised during Presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin’s June conference in Geneva.
The Foreign Affairs Committee said on Thursday that two resolutions demanding for the release of the couple “who remain illegally imprisoned in Russia” had been accepted.
The committee’s account tweeted, “As @POTUS said last week, the US government will not stop fighting for their liberation.”
Russia’s embassy in Washington, DC, on the other hand, slammed what it called “anti-Russian resolutions in the US Congress.”
According to a statement on the mission’s Facebook page, “tens of thousands of US people experience barbaric treatment here every day and are deprived of necessary medical care.”
“Perhaps it is time for lawmakers to confront problems within their own country?” the statement stated, referring to the fact that “our compatriots found themselves in the same exact situation.”
“#FreeViktorBout #FreeKonstantinYaroshenko #FreeRomanSeleznev,” the Facebook statement concluded.
Arms dealer Bout, narcotics smuggler Yaroshenko, and hacker Seleznev are all serving lengthy prison sentences in the United States.
According to Radio Free Europe, a prospective trade involving Whelan and Bout and Yaroshenko is being examined. According to the Associated Press, Putin is claimed to have opened the door to such a move and that discussions about it will continue.
In December 2018, Whelan, a Michigan resident, was detained in a Moscow hotel room and sentenced to 16 years in jail for espionage. In December 2020, his lawyer, Vladimir Zherebenkov, stated that a prisoner exchange, rather than appealing the sentence, would be the best way to his client’s liberation.
Reed, from Texas, was sentenced to nine years in prison after being accused of attacking police officers who were transporting him to a police station in Moscow after picking him up from a party where he had been drinking.
Reed’s appeal of his sentence, which the US had attempted to secure, was dismissed by Moscow City Court last month. This is a condensed version of the information.