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Russia refuses to release U.S. citizens Gershkovich and Whelan

Russia refuses to release U.S. citizens Gershkovich and Whelan Journalist Evan Gershkovich from WSJ (Photo: GettyImages)
Author: Daria Shekina

Russia rejected the U.S. proposal for the release of American citizens Evan Gershkovich and Paul Whelan, who were convicted by Moscow on espionage charges, according to Bloomberg.

A White House National Security Council representative, John Kirby, revealed that the Biden administration made a "very serious proposal" to Russia for the release of U.S. Marine Corps veteran Whelan and journalist Gershkovich.

"The Russian government balked at that offer. Now, we’re back at the blackboard and we’re going to keep seeing what we can do to try to get them out," Kirby stated.

This week, Whelan expressed disappointment with the U.S. government's attempts to secure his release. In a statement released on December 8 by his family, he urged the Biden administration to "take decisive action to secure my release," adding that "this game of diplomatic niceties and pleasant dialogue needs to end."

What's known about Gershkovich and Whelan

Evan Gershkovich is a reporter for the Wall Street Journal. He lived in Moscow for about six years, covering events in Russia and Ukraine but was detained by Russia's Federal Security Service and arrested on espionage charges, which both the journalist and the U.S. government vehemently deny.

Paul Whelan is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran. He was imprisoned in Russia on similar espionage charges. He strongly denies the allegations made by the Russian authorities.