NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM/CNN) — President Joe Biden said he discussed the cases of two Americans detained in Russia during his meeting with Vladimir Putin on Wednesday, pledging to “follow through” on that discussion.
“I raised the case of two wrongfully imprisoned American citizens, Paul Whelan and Trevor Reed,” Biden said during a news conference Wednesday following the summit in Geneva.READ MORE: 3 Dead After Crash Involving Two Speeding Vehicles In Dallas, Police Say
“The families of the detained Americans came up and we discussed them. We’re going to follow through with that discussion. I am not going to walk away on that,” he added.
A senior State Department official briefing reporters on the summit discussions wouldn’t offer any details “other than to say that the President was very clear about the need to resolve these, these cases.”
The families of both men expressed appreciation that President Biden had spoken of them by name.
“The Reeds were very pleased to hear a President of the United States finally say Trevor’s name, on this, his 671st day wrongfully detained,” family spokesperson Jonathan Franks said in a statement to CNN.
“We are grateful that President Biden raised Paul’s case, by name, as part of this important meeting with President Putin,” Paul Whelan’s brother David Whelan said in a statement.READ MORE: Texas Experiencing Another COVID-19 Surge
In his own news conference, Putin also noted that the cases had come up and said “a certain compromise might be found there.”
“Russia’s Foreign Ministry and the US State Department will work in that direction,” the Russian President said.
Both families, as well as Paul Whelan himself, had called on Biden to discuss their cases in his meeting with his Russian counterpart.
Ahead of the Wednesday summit, Paula and Joey Reed had pleaded for Mr. Biden to work toward a deal to secure the release of their son, who recently contracted COVID-19 in a Russian prison.
“He’s being held as a pawn to try and leverage concessions in a political dispute between our two countries in which he has no part, and it’s time to let him come home to Texas,” the two wrote in a statement.
Reed was sentenced to nine years in prison in July 2020 for endangering the “life and health” of Russian police officers in an altercation after a night of drinking. He and his family have denied the charges and US Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan called the trial “theater of the absurd.”MORE NEWS: Administrative Court Judge Orders Mask-Wearing To Enter Dallas County Courthouses
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