Former governors Bill Richardson are expected to travel to Moscow to secure the release of Britney Greener and Paul Welan.



The planned trip to Moscow on behalf of the families of the hostages and prisoners of war by the former New Mexico governor and diplomat came as the US government stepped up its efforts to free the two Americans and pressured them to return home.

Both Whelan and Griner were arbitrarily detained by the US government, and both families worked at the nonprofit Richardson Center.

CNN has asked the State Department and the National Security Council to comment on Richardson’s first trip to ABC News.

Mickey Bergman, director of the Richardson Center, told CNN: “We are not currently able to comment on this.

News of the planned trip Grinner has pleaded guilty in a court outside Moscow to the WNBA star, who has been in Russia on drug trafficking charges since February. Grenner told the court on Thursday that she had two cartons of cannabis oil each weighing less than a gram. . She faces up to 10 years in prison.
Britney Greener pleaded guilty to drug charges in Russian court

“We believe that any prisoner in this situation should do what he can to help them survive,” Richardson told CNN on Thursday following Grenner’s appeal.

Richardson said he was “fighting for her life” and was working hard to secure a safe return from Greenland and Welan, but declined to give further details because of “further efforts.”

Whelan, a former naval officer, was arrested in December 2018 on suspicion of espionage. A.D. In June 2020, he was sentenced to 16 years in prison by U.S. officials for alleged misconduct.

Richardson has been working for a long time to secure the release of Americans detained abroad, and in April he was instrumental in securing the release of Trevor Reed from Russia.

A source familiar with the matter told CNN in April after Reed’s release that members of the Richardson Center had traveled to Moscow in February in the days leading up to the Russian war. After that visit, the Richardson Center came up with a clear idea of ​​what the Russians wanted to do and how they were willing to do it, which was presented to the White House.

Biden’s administration has repeatedly said that the release of Greener and Willin and the work to secure the release of Americans detained abroad are a priority.

President Joe Biden spoke on the phone last week with Grenner’s wife, Cheryl Greenner, and wrote a letter to the WNBA player, in response to a text message he shared with her in court last week. Following the president’s call with Cheryl Greener, Whelan’s sister, Elizabeth Welan, called.

CNN’s Chak Johnston, Anna Chernova, Abby Philip, Dakin Andone and Ala Elasar contributed to this report.


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