Paul Whelan has been a hostage of the Kremlin for 1,490 days. Our family is hopeful that Ambassador Lynne Tracy's arrival today in Moscow to helm the US Embassy will help propel efforts forward to free Paul. The US Embassy staff have been unstinting in their support but it can only help to have an Ambassador, after 4 months without one, to advocate for Paul's safety and freedom.
It has been six weeks since Ms. Griner's release by the Kremlin. We understand that the U.S. government continues discussions about Paul's release with the individual selected by President Putin. Our sister, Elizabeth, will be heading back to Washington D.C. in February to continue to encourage the creativity and difficult decision-making within the U.S. government that appears necessary for Paul to be released.
Paul's situation is unchanged. He is still able to speak to our parents as often as daily. IK-17 remains just as awful and a second warden has been arrested on corruption charges. You can imagine that the deprivations experienced by prison staff due to sanctions will only encourage them to seek other sources of material goods, especially from a literally captive audience.
We've learned from Embassy staff that a substantial number of letters and cards have arrived in Moscow for Paul thanks to many calls in December to write to him. We are looking forward to hearing his reaction when Embassy staff are able to deliver the mail to him in Mordovia. Perhaps the Ambassador will be able to be part of that visit. It may take months of translation by prison staff before he can hold them, but it will mean a lot to Paul to know that, after 4 years as a hostage, he hasn't been forgotten.
Thanks for continuing to follow Paul's case. As day 1,500 approaches (February 5), we continue to hope for Paul's freedom to come sooner than too late for our parents.