A top diplomat at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow said Friday that he is “gravely concerned” about the health of Trevor Reed, a former Marine being detained in Russia who recently tested positive for COVID-19.
The embassy’s deputy chief of mission, Bartle Gorman, said the Russian facility where Mr. Reed is hospitalized has refused to provide any update or information about him at all for more than two weeks.
Embassy staff has been denied consular access to Mr. Reed ever since he was diagnosed with COVID-19 on May 25, Mr. Gorman said. Mr. Reed‘s parents said recently they have not heard from him either.
In a statement, Mr. Gorman said the embassy has issued a diplomatic note to the Russian government Thursday formally protesting what he called a violation of bilateral as well as international agreements.
“We are gravely concerned about his health,” he said. “We insist that this brazen attempt to isolate Mr. Reed from both his family and his government immediately cease.”
A spokesperson for the Russian Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a message requesting comment.
Mr. Reed, 29, was sentenced in 2019 to nine years in a Russian penal colony after being convicted of drunkenly assaulting two police officers. He and his defenders have denied any crime occurred.
Paul Whelan, 51, a businessman and another former U.S. Marine held in Russia, is serving a 16-year sentence for an espionage conviction he rejects as well. He and Mr. Reed have alleged their cases are politically motivated.
The White House called in February for the release of Mr. Reed and Mr. Whelan. More recently, President Biden is being asked to bring up the issue when he meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Switzerland on June 16.
“The Kremlin’s Kafka-esque treatment of American citizens must stop and President Biden should make their return a priority of the visit,” Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez, New Jersey Democrat, said earlier this week.