NEW YORK, August 15. /TASS/. Relatives of Paul Whelan, a US citizen detained in Russia on espionage charges, believe that his Marine Corps training skills help him "keep up his morale" in Lefortovo prison, Whelan's brother David told TASS in an E-mail.
"Paul has said that he keeps up his morale in part due to his Marine Corps SERE [Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape — TASS] training. <…> Paul's spirits have also been helped by the mail sent to him," the letter reads.
According to Whelan’s relatives, the next hearing is due to take place on August 26.
David Whelan noted in his letter that the US Embassy and consular staff from the UK, Canada and Ireland continued to monitor his brother’s case. "We hope that a diplomatic solution will be found to bring Paul home," he wrote.
According to Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), Paul Whelan was detained in Moscow on December 28, 2018, while on a spy mission. The FSB Investigative Department opened an investigation under Section 276 of the Russian Criminal Code (espionage), which carries a punishment of ten to 20 years in prison. Apart from US citizenship, Whelan also holds British, Canadian and Irish passports.