Novi's Paul Whelan shown in Russian prison report from state-run media

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Imprisoned Novi man Paul Whelan shown in Russia Today report

For the family of Paul Whelan it is the first time they have seen their loved one - who is locked up in Russia accused of being a spy - in years.

It is the first glimpse of Novi man Paul Whelan anyone has had in years since he was imprisoned in Russia.

A Russian state media source released video showing Whelan's life behind bars. 

In one clip, you can see a long stare into the camera from Whelan. In a statement, Paul’s brother said this is his favorite moment because he sees strength, determination, and contempt.  We also see a testy exchange between Paul and the Russian reporter.

The video clip from Russian state-run media lasts just under two minutes, but we got a glimpse at life in a Russian prison for US Marine veteran, and Novi native, Paul Whelan.

Dressed in an all-black prison uniform, cameras follow Paul as he eats, does manual labor and flashes a brief smile.

When a Russian journalist tries to ask him questions, Paul shuts him down repeatedly.

"Sir, you understand when I say I can’t do an interview, which means I can’t answer any questions," Whelan says to the reporter. "If you’re asking me questions, that’s an interview."

After the reporter further prods him by asking to "just talk" - but Whelan stops the interaction.

"No, I can’t do an interview," he said.

Paul’s brother, David, said in a statement Monday: "Today is the first time, I’ve seen what (Paul) really looks like since June 2020. So, thank you Russia Today, because though your reporting is the worst sort of propaganda, and you are the mouthpiece for war criminals, at least I can see what Paul looks like after all these years."

Russia sentenced Paul Whelan to 16 years in prison on spying charges in 2020. He was first arrested in December of 2018.

His brother said Paul was in Russia to attend a wedding. The 52-year-old has been incarcerated for more than 1,700 days.

In the Russian media report, the reporter says Paul thought he would be involved in a prisoner swap with America before WNBA star Brittney Griner.

No American official or media has confirmed that.

In a post on X — formerly Twitter — US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said she wants Russia to free Paul Whelan and Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich.

Near the end of the Russian media report, the reporter speaks on Paul Whelan’s resilience and optimism.

His brother, David, says at the end of his statement: "I wish I could see Paul under better circumstances, but it is good to see him again and to see the fight that remains in his eyes. Paul remains unbowed."

Paul Whelan