US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday demanded the Russian authorities to release the arrested American-British in Russia, Paul Whelan, a former member of the US Navy, condemning his ill-treatment after this week he underwent emergency surgery.
“It is unacceptable that Paul Whelan will not be allowed to receive the necessary medical care before his condition becomes an emergency,” Pompeo said.
We demand the release of Paul”.
Whelan, 50, who also holds Irish and Canadian citizenship, was arrested in Moscow in December 2018, when Russian intelligence accused him of “espionage”.
He has been in pre-trial detention and faces up to 18 years in prison.
On Thursday evening, Whelan was hospitalized and underwent “emergency” surgery due to “severe abdominal pain,” according to his brother David, who expressed concern about his health.
On Friday, Whelan was sent back to prison, where he “receives the necessary medical care,” according to the Russian Foreign Ministry.
In the past, Paul Whelan and his relatives have indicated that he was not receiving the necessary treatment, and Washington repeatedly denounced his arrest.
The issue has exacerbated tensions between the United States and Russia, which have taken opposing positions on several issues, most notably Syria and Ukraine.
On another issue, Russia announced that it saw limited opportunities to maintain the new START treaty on reducing nuclear powers, after the United States announced that it would withdraw from the “open skies” treaty.
Russian President Vladimir Putin unexpectedly called for a meeting of the country’s Security Council, Saturday, to discuss prospects for renewing the two treaties.
Putin said Saturday in a video conference, according to information released by the Kremlin, that there are currently no serious negotiations with the United States on extending the new START treaty to reduce the maximum limits of strategic offensive warheads of the two countries.
The new START treaty stipulates that the Russian and American nuclear arsenals be limited to 800 bombers and 1,550 long-range nuclear warheads each. It is due to expire on February 5.
In an interview with the National Security magazine, an American security magazine, Sergei Ryabkov, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister, said that the chances of saving the treaty are “practically zero”, as it will be too late to do it once the US elections are completed in November.
It is noteworthy that Russia has repeatedly warned of the danger of a new arms race if the treaty is not renewed.
The United States indicated that it was ready, but called on China to be a party to a new treaty, without success.
Putin told the council that Russia is still defining its position on the “Open Skies” treaty.