US officials allowed to visit American arrested for espionage in Moscow – Russian Foreign Ministry
Paul Whelan, the US security specialist held in Russia since Friday over an “act of espionage,” has received a diplomatic delegation from his homeland. Consular access had been demanded by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
The visit was separately confirmed to the Russian news agency RIA, and to CNN by foreign ministry officials in Moscow.
Earlier, Pompeo said the US needed to have a better understanding of what Whelan has purportedly done, as no details have been made public, and may press for his instant release.
“We’ve made clear to the Russians our expectation that we will learn more about the charges, come to understand what it is he’s been accused of, and if the detention is not appropriate, we will demand his immediate return,” said Pompeo while on a trip to Brazil, where he acted as an American representative for the inauguration of President Jair Bolsonaro.
Meanwhile, Whelan’s family has insisted that the innocence of the former marine, who was dismissed from service in 2008 after being convicted of larceny, was “undoubted.” They say he was in the Russian capital to attend a wedding of a fellow US marine to a local woman, and had previously traveled to the country for over a decade without a single incident.
The 48-year-old has recently been working as director of global security at BorgWarner, an international multi-billion auto parts manufacturer headquartered in Michigan.