Relatives of Paul Whelan Not Planning to Visit Moscow - Family to Sputnik

© REUTERS / Whelan FamilyPaul Whelan, a U.S. citizen detained in Russia for suspected spying, appears in a photo provided by the Whelan family on January 1, 2019.
Paul Whelan, a U.S. citizen detained in Russia for suspected spying, appears in a photo provided by the Whelan family on January 1, 2019. - Sputnik International
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WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Relatives of US citizen Paul Whelan have no plans to visit him in Moscow, where he has been detained on charges of espionage, his brother David Whelan told Sputnik on Tuesday.

"Just as before, those reports are false," David Whelan said. "Neither his parents nor his siblings are flying to Russia, and we have no plans to fly to Russia."

Earlier on Tuesday, Whelan's lawyer in Moscow Vladimir Zherebenkov told Russian media that his client's family is planning to visit Moscow next week to ask for a meeting with Paul.

"That is sloppy. They could have just asked me", his brother David Whelan said in response to the reports.

READ MORE: Moscow Confirms US Citizen Whelan Charged With Espionage, Rules Out Exchange

The US Embassy in Bolshoi Devyatinsky Pereulok, Moscow - Sputnik International
US, UK, Canada, Ireland Envoys Discuss Whelan Espionage Case - Whelan’s Brother
As David Whelan explained, US diplomats were planning to visit Paul Whelan on January 17.

"We heard from the US Embassy staff today that they have a meeting scheduled with Paul on Thursday, the 17th," Whelan said in a statement to the media.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has also approved a visit by Irish consular staff on January 16, he added.

"The US Embassy is hoping to proffer the Privacy Act waiver for Paul's signature, something they have not yet been allowed to do," David said.

The waiver would allow the US government to share information about his case.

Shortly after, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov confirmed that US and Irish diplomats would be granted consular access to Whelan again soon.

"Consular access to him will be granted in the near future. He is not only a citizen of the United States, but also Ireland. Irish consular officers will visit him in the coming days. New consular access for the US embassy is also being worked out," Ryabkov told reporters.

"We are doing our utmost to ensure that there are no complaints about the conditions of his detention. But the nature of his activities is such that the issue will undoubtedly be fully investigated, and the whole situation will be considered in court after he is properly charged," he added.

Paul Whelan, a 48-year old security director with a US automotive parts supplier, was detained in Moscow in December on charges of espionage. The detainee, who also holds Irish, Canadian and UK citizenship, denies the charges and insists he came to Russia only to attend a friend’s wedding.

The Russian Foreign Ministry confirmed on Friday that Paul Whelan has been formally charged with espionage and ruled out the possibility of a prisoner exchange for Russian citizens detained abroad.

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