Russian Prisoner Paul Whelan’s Brother Responds to Brittney Griner’s Release: ‘We Do Worry About What’s in Paul’s Future’ (Video)

David Whelan called into “CNN This Morning” to express his happiness for Griner and her family but remorse for his still-detained brother

Russian prisoner Paul Whelan’s brother showed complex emotions Thursday morning over WNBA star Brittney Griner’s release, expressing happiness for her and her family while also spotlighting Paul’s needs as he is “left behind.”

“It’s great news. Anytime an American comes home, it’s wonderful news,” David Whelan told “CNN This Morning” on Thursday. “I’m so glad for Brittney and Cherelle. It’s a wonderful day.”

David Whelan added that he was notified by the White House on Wednesday of Griner’s release while negotiations to free his brother continued to stall for a fourth year.

As recently as last week, there were reports of Paul being admitted to the hospital while David has continued to give regular updates on his health and status via social media.

“It’s hard to process this in real time, which is what we had to do last April when Paul was left behind before and Trevor Reed came home,” David said. “It’s a great day for the families of the wrongfully detained and we feel wonderful for them, but we do worry about what’s in Paul’s future. I think it’s become clear that the U.S. doesn’t have any concessions that the Russian government wants for Paul, and so I’m not really sure what the future holds.”

“I imagine it is bittersweet – I don’t know if that’s the right term – because you’re happy for Brittney Griner’s family, for her wife, but then your brother is still there,” “CNN This Morning” co-host Don Lemon said. “So how do you navigate that? What do you think moving forward your conversations with the administration and those who are involved in trying to get your brother home, where does that go from here?”

David responded saying the only thing to do from here is “the same thing we’ve been doing every day” for the last 1,440 days.

“We heard the news yesterday, I prepared my media statement to go out this morning, and we were back to work,” he said. “But really, it’s a matter of helping Paul to survive until, and if, the U.S. government is able to find a concession that the Russian government wants. It’s not magic, it’s just a ton of work.”

In the statement released this morning, David revealed a bit more about his mindset around Griner’s release, saying, “I can literally only imagine the joy she will have, being reunited with her loved ones, and in time for the holidays. There is no greater success than for a wrongful detainee to be freed and for them to go home. The Biden Administration made the right decision to bring Ms. Griner home and to make the deal that was possible, rather than waiting for one that wasn’t going to happen.”

Speaking to press upon the announcement of Griner’s release Thursday, President Biden assured, “We’ve not forgotten about Paul Whelan. We will keep negotiating in good faith for Paul’s release.”