The sister of an American citizen who was arrested in Russia three years ago said that she was "crushed" that President Joe Biden has spoken with Brittney Griner's family but has yet to talk to her family.
Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medalist basketball player for the Phoenix Mercury, and Paul Whelan, a U.S. Marine, were both arrested and imprisoned in Russia; Griner in February, Whelan more than three years ago.
The White House said on Wednesday that Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris called Griner's wife, Cherelle Griner, on Wednesday in order to "reassure" her that they are working to get Russia to release her, Whelan, and other Americans who were unjustly detained.
"I am crushed. If he wants to talk about securing Paul's release, he needs to be talking to the Whelans!" Elizabeth Whelan, Paul Whelan's sister, tweeted on Wednesday. "What are we to think?!"
"We are astonished at this development and feel badly for our elderly parents, and in particular for Paul," she later told The Detroit News. "Does this mean he is going to be left behind yet again?"
Another U.S. Marine being held in Russia who was also arrested while visiting as a tourist, Trevor Reed, was previously released in a trade for pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko, who was imprisoned in the U.S. on charges of drug trafficking. Whelan was not included in the deal.
Paul Whelan's brother, David Whelan, added to the Detroit News: "I don't begrudge Ms. Griner and her supporters their success in getting the president's attention while he ignores so many other families. It suggests the only way to get the White House's attention, under [former President Donald] Trump or President Biden, is to have celebrity and wealth and resources that most wrongful detainees do not have."
Theodore Bunker ✉
Theodore Bunker, a Newsmax writer, has more than a decade covering news, media, and politics.
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