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Brother of Whelan Claims Russia Postponed US Diplomats’ Planned Visit

© REUTERS / Shamil ZhumatovA general view shows the pre-trial detention centre Lefortovo, where former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan is reportedly held in custody in Moscow, Russia January 3, 2019
A general view shows the pre-trial detention centre Lefortovo, where former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan is reportedly held in custody in Moscow, Russia January 3, 2019 - Sputnik International
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WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - David Whelan, the brother of Paul Whelan, arrested in Russia on charges of espionage, said in a statement on Thursday that Moscow has postponed today's planned consular visit by US diplomats. Moscow has not yet commented on these claims.

"We are disappointed that the Russian government has postponed a scheduled visit by the US Embassy's staff today (January 17, 2019). We had hoped to continue to have an opportunity to exchange additional information with Paul," David Whelan said in the statement.

READ MORE: US, UK, Canada, Ireland Envoys Discuss Whelan Espionage Case — Whelan's Brother

The Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry building in Moscow - Sputnik International
Only US Representatives Visited Whelan Detained for Espionage in Russia - Moscow
"The visit by Irish consular officials yesterday was very helpful and gave us an opportunity to receive specific guidance from Paul. Hopefully, the US Embassy's visit can be rescheduled soon, and the UK's request to establish communication with Paul will also be granted," he added.

As Whelan’s lawyer Vladimir Zherebenkov explained to Sputnik later in the day, the visit was postponed amid to investigative procedures that were conducted with Paul Whelan.

"Investigative procedures took place today, while the meeting with an ambassador did not… Investigators are behaving correctly, Paul is confident and doesn't plead guilty, considering this a mistake and believing the investigators will sort everything out," Zherebenkov said.

Paul Whelan, a 48-year old former US marine, officially employed as the director of global security for a Michigan-based automotive parts supplier, was detained in Moscow on 28 December on espionage charges. He has denied all allegations, claiming he came to Russia only to attend his friend's wedding.

According to FSB, Whelan had been detained "during a spy action in Moscow". A Moscow court will consider the appeal against Whelan's arrest on January 22.

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