Day 1431 - Paul Whelan - IK-17 Mordovia Russia - November 28, 2022 - [Paul Whelan] No Calls

How many days before you start to worry?  Paul has told us repeatedly over the last 47 months (as of today) that, if he doesn't call home for more than 3 days, to alert the U.S. Embassy.  So our parents did that, and heard back that the consular staff had also not heard from Paul.  They have a call scheduled with him on Thursdays and he failed to make it last week.  It's incredibly unusual for Paul to miss trying to call home on a holiday like Thanksgiving.  We've been worried for 1,431 days if I'm frank, but days when he is out of contact for a stretch of time we worry with specificity.

If you haven't read today's RIA/Novosti interview with US Embassy Charge d'Affaires Elizabeth Rood, it's a good one.  In particular, she talks about the staffing issues at the US Embassy in Moscow.  Those are the very staff we rely on to help Paul and, since the Kremlin forced all of the Russian staff employed by the Embassy to be terminated, the consular support role has gotten much harder.  

We hope that they will find out what Paul's condition is soon: is his phone card out of funds? Is he in solitary? Has he been moved to a hospital camp again without his request? Transport somewhere always comes to mind because prisoner transfers always seem to happen on a Friday.  And, if it's punitive, what is the prison retaliating for?

Charge d'Affaires Rood also discusses the ongoing negotiations for Paul, and for Brittney Griner, to be released.  Although negotiation may not be the word, since the Kremlin is not apparently working towards bringing any Russians home from US prisons.  But it is reassuring to read her comments about the care that the US Embassy staff take about all Americans held in Russian prisons, "to ensure the well-being of the American citizens here. And the situation is not limited to the names of those who are mentioned in the headlines of the media - a number of American citizens are held in Russian prisons. We are extremely concerned about the condition of each of them, and we continue to monitor their affairs very closely and to support them in every possible way."

We will never be able to thank the US Embassy staff enough for their years of care for Paul.  We hope that the Kremlin eventually finds a Russian in US custody they care about, and return Paul and other Americans home to their families.