Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that he would not discuss arms control with his American colleague David Hale during a meeting in Helsinki.
“This is the first contact in this format. We will not touch upon the issue on arms control, there is a separate format for this,” said the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister. “We will consider the issues on bilateral relations and regional situations. We have contacts in many areas,” he added.
Ryabkov added that they might raise the issue on the custody of Paul Whelan in Russia.
“If you ask it [a question], we, of course, will be able to answer. There is a certain procedural aspect that cannot be canceled,” the deputy foreign minister claimed.
Earlier, Ryabkov asserted that Moscow called Washington upon an exchange of prisoners, including the Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko, without waiting for Whelan’s sentence.
48-year-old Paul Whelan, who has US, British, Canadian and Irish citizenship, is the head of security at a large American company Borg Warner, which is based in Michigan, and produce various components for cars. The FSB officers detained Whelan in Moscow on December 28, 2018. The investigative department of the Federal Security Service of Russia has instituted a criminal proceedings against him under article 276 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“Spying”), which provides for a sentence of imprisonment from 10 to 20 years.
Natalia Veselnitskaya – official website