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Sports World Is Praying For Paul Whelan On Thursday

Former US Marine Paul Whelan.

Paul Whelan, a former US marine accused of espionage and arrested in Russia in December 2018, stands inside a defendants' cage as he waits to hear his verdict in Moscow on June 15, 2020. (Photo by Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP) (Photo by KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP via Getty Images)

Former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan was not included in the United States' deal to secure Brittney Griner's release. As a result, he's still being detained in Russia. 

Whelan is understandably disappointed that he won't be returning back to the United States - at least not yet.

“I am greatly disappointed more hasn't been done to secure my release, especially as the four year anniversary of my arrest is coming up," Whelan told CNN. "I was arrested for a crime that never occurred. I don’t understand why I’m still sitting here.”

Despite being stuck in Russia for the time being, Whelan did say that he's happy Griner was released. 

With Whelan's future still up in the air, people around the country are praying for him and his family.

"Prayers up for the family Paul Whelan, still being wrongfully detained in Russia," Robbin Simmons said. "They are showing incredible graciousness in saying the Biden administration was caught between a rock and a hard place in successfully negotiating Brittney Griner's release while Whelan remains."

"Let's keep Paul Whelan in prayers as well," one person tweeted. 

"And prayers to the Whelan family," Ross Read commented. "This has to be a tough day for them. It's right before the holidays and he is still not home."

Whelan was detained at a Moscow hotel in December of 2018. He was then sentenced to 16 years in prison in 2020. 

The Biden administration said that it'll continue to work on Whelan's release. However, there's no timetable for his return to the United States.