Mast Demands Biden Administration Share Number of Americans Detained in Russia with Congress

Mast Demands Biden Administration Share Number of Americans Detained in Russia with Congress

Jackson Bakich
Jackson Bakich
May 4, 2024

Representative Brian Mast (R-FL) is urging President Joe Biden (D) and his administration to provide Congress with a classified briefing on the number of Americans detained in Russia by President Vladimir Putin, as well as a plan to bring them home.

In a blog post on his congressional website, Rep. Mast spoke strongly regarding how the President should approach this issue.

“The United States government has an obligation to protect ALL Americans. Right now it’s estimated there are dozens of Americans detained in Russia, but still it’s unclear if that is an exact number,” said Rep. Mast. “Despite that reality, Joe Biden’s State Department won’t clarify exactly how many Americans are unfairly imprisoned in Russia. The State Department claims the information changes daily, but that’s not a good enough answer.”

He continued by mentioning that there is an expectation that American citizens are brought home as quickly as possible.

“Our government is duty-bound to protect hard-working Americans from being wrongfully detained by foreign powers abroad. If you are an American detained abroad, there should be every expectation that an American is coming to get you, whether that's an American diplomat or an American with a rifle,” said Mast.

He would also mention, “The very fact that there are U.S. citizens detained in Russia without due process — not even including that the State Department cannot tell us how many — is a stinging indictment of the president. Families of these detained Americans are owed an explanation as to why their loved ones are missing college graduations and birthdays.”

The Florida congressman was highly critical of President Biden’s handling of the Britney Griner situation. The United States traded the WNBA star for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, also known as the “Merchant of Death.”

In March of 2023, American Wall Street Journal reporter, Evan Gershkovich was detained and eventually arrested by the Russian government on the charge of espionage. According to the news outlet, this is the first time an espionage case has been brought to an overseas reporter since the Cold War.

At the time, Rep. Mast stated that “it’s not hard to see the playbook here” when referring to how Russia will attempt to use leverage based on the precedent set by the Brittney Griner – Viktor Bout prisoner exchange.

“Here’s where their hands are tied behind their back. Russia is looking at this and saying, ‘Well, if the United States of America was willing to give up what everybody called the “merchant of death,” a top arms dealer for Russia, or a WNBA player on a pot charge, what are they willing to give up for a Wall Street Journal reported charged with espionage facing decades in prison or possibly even death?'”

However, what Mast is requesting in the meantime is transparency from the Biden administration.

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Jackson Bakich

Jackson Bakich

Born in Orlando but raised in Lake County, Florida, Jackson Bakich is currently a senior at Florida State University. Growing up in the sunshine state, Bakich co-hosted the political talk radio show "Lake County Roundtable" (WLBE) and was a frequent guest for "Lake County Sports Show" (WQBQ). Currently, he is the Sports Editor of the FSView and the co-host of "Tomahawk Talk" (WVFS), a sports talk radio program covering Florida State athletics in Tallahassee.

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