Imprisoned former US Marine speaks from Russian jail

ABC News’ Patrick Reevell reports on what lies ahead in U.S.-Russia relations under a Biden presidency, and what it will take to get two former service members jailed in Russia home.
4:54 | 11/11/20

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Transcript for Imprisoned former US Marine speaks from Russian jail
Across the globe foreign leaders reached out to president elect Joseph Biden offering their congratulations but what really are who did not. Russia's Vladimir Putin's Kremlin says that they were weak for the official results and that's a far different approach in their actions four years ago when president trump won his select approach but forty years after Russia tried to influence our election US Russian relations remain strange the arrest of at least two former US service members including Paul Whelan who spoke with us tonight each have only made matters worse patch of regal has this report. For almost two years we heard little from full real and the former US marine held in Russia as this flying. But whose family and US officials say was a tourists is grant as a political hostage. Kept in pretrial detention in Moscow for eighteen months. We loans trial was held almost in time leave behind closed doors this is simply a dog and pony show for the media they're not doing. In June wheel and was sentenced to sixteen years in a prison camp there. Journalists only able to grab snatched comments from him if all I am from ABC news want to say something. From our Grammy I don't think anyone yeah. Now settled then for the first time ABC has spoken with we'll in from the camp the first time a journalist has been able to talk extensively with him. Places that are very altered my alma. Calm quite dilapidated but we're in mountain you know Eric. Ski six jealous in the building two week I would want be it out. The camp is a former gulag in more do via the case is about 300 miles from Moscow. Like other inmates we learn works eight hours a day making clothes. I actually didn't. Quite welcoming you know they all laugh when I got here yet SP that shouldn't want Michael Keller caught up in a trap. He Sais he was in Moscow for a friend's wedding when he was detained by Russian intelligence. I mean the whole thing is just what you Shia TV it would black masks. You know it got a guy that you can fight what church you will it was real or not endorse anyone would have shut up jagr and up. Well. Josh became you know quite real. The FSB accused we'll end up receiving a flash drives with classified material on its. We'll NCs he was framed by his longtime Russian friend whom he accuses of collaborating with the FSB to sets him up. On the on the day question he came over and now I'm occasionally show are trying to get ready to shut wedding dinner and don't ten minutes after he gets there know this and come to the door and channels but. Since Sweden's arrest a second ex marine 26 year old Trevor Reid was sentenced to nine years in a Russian jail in another GBS trial. American officials have said they believe Russia would like to trade weaved in and read for Russians held in the US. So what we're seeing with mr. Whalen and with others that have been detained. Without probable cause and Russia is of negotiating tool these are policies people are caught up. In in the in the tit for tat between the two intelligence services and unfortunately somebody has to pay the price. Russian officials have floated dealing did of the trade for two men in particular. Victim boots and arms dealer serving a 25 years since since in the US on a terrorism charge. And Constantine Gerashchenko. A pilot convicted of drug smuggling. And I that would address. They ask if I'm typical Igor. The jailed Americans case is underlined the challenges that president elect Joseph Biden will face in dealing with Russia. Vladimir Putin has still yet to congratulate biting days off to the election was called by the US media. The relationship between the US and Russia will always very between cold and colder. It's in mister prudent to interest to keep tensions high with the US because ink. Builds domestic political favor and it also keeps the people distracted from the kinds of things that are going on in Russia. During a town hold me seeing the president elect vowed to maintain a tough stance on Russia. Chuck came to interfere in our election. Is a violation or soft. And it was done again which it appears to be beat down there be a price to pay. But be afresh to today and prudent noses reasoning doesn't want me as president he knows me and he knows I mean economy war they'll pay a price. But to get home these veterans need at least a crack in the ice in Russian relations. We Lin's family tells us there are currently no negotiations under way to his release a new presidency could be a moment that makes that easy yeah. At the silence from the Kremlin on Biden's election is not a promising sign for future relations. Should regal in Moscow for ABC news life.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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