UPDATED 6:02 PM PT – Monday, October 10, 2022
Former United Nations Ambassador Bill Richardson has suggested that jailed Americans, Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan, could soon be released.
During an interview with CNN State of the Union on Sunday, Richardson said that he hopes for their safe return.
The former New Mexico Governor runs the Richardson Center. The Center works with American families on hostage negotiations and prisoner releases.
Griner was sentenced to nine years in Russia after pleading guilty to drug-smuggling charges. Whelan is currently serving a 16-year sentence for espionage charges.
“I am cautiously optimistic on the Griner, Whelan negotiations,” he said. “I think it’s going to be a two for two. I don’t want to get into with who I met with; it was Senior Russian Officials; individuals close to President Putin. I’ve coordinated with the White House, I’ve coordinated as much, but sometimes they’re a little nervous. My doing this on my own but at the same time we’ve had success recently.”
That success includes the release of Marine Trevor Reed from Russian custody earlier this year.
Richardson believes that Griner and Whelan could be released by the end of the year.