NEW YORK, April 13. /TASS/. US Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman believes that espionage charges, filed by Russia against US citizen Paul Whelan, have not been backed by any evidence so far.
"As for Paul Whelan, I think about his family every day, I think about him every day, I’ve gone to see him in prison," he said in an interview with RFE/RL's Russian Service on Friday. "If the Russians had evidence, they should bring it forward."
"We have seen nothing. We have only heard words about espionage, but I don’t think there is a case there. If there was a case, I think the evidence would have been brought forward by now," the US diplomat added. "I hope that he is released as quickly as possible."
"If there is no evidence - and the Russians have not shown that there is any evidence so far - then let’s move on… and quit playing these games," he said.
According to Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), Paul Whelan, 48, was detained in Moscow on December 28, 2018, while on a spy mission. The FSB Investigative Department launched an investigation under Section 276 of the Russian Criminal Code (espionage), which carries a punishment of 10-20 years in prison.
Apart from US citizenship, Whelan also holds British, Canadian and Irish passports.