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US Ambassador to Russia visits jailed reporter Evan Gershkovich

by Lance Luo December 16, 2023 5:14 AM 2 min read
US Ambassador to Russia Lynne Tracy speaks to the press in Moscow on April 18, 2023. (Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
This audio is created with AI assistance

The United States Embassy in Moscow said on Dec. 15 that Ambassador Lynne Tracy visited Evan Gershkovich, a U.S. citizen and Wall Street Journal reporter currently detained in Russia on espionage charges he denies.

Gershkovich was arrested on Mar. 29 by Russia’s security service during a reporting trip in Yekaterinburg, a city near the Ural Mountains home to much of Russia’s defense industry.

"He remains upbeat and thanks his family, friends and everyone who has been following his plight for over 250 days for their support," the U.S. Embassy said in a statement. Gershkovich, 32, has been held in Moscow’s Lefortovo Prison since his arrest.

During a press conference Thursday, Russian leader Vladimir Putin said Russia wants to reach a prisoner trade deal “mutually acceptable” to both countries.

Washington has worked closely with Moscow to secure high-level prisoner trades, most recently releasing convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout in exchange for WNBA star Brittney Griner.

Griner, formerly a professional basketball player in Russia, was detained by border guards in February 2022 at a Moscow airport on drug-related allegations and held for nearly 10 months. Her arrest occurred around the same time as Putin's invasion of Ukraine and further soured relations between Washington and Moscow.

Paul Whelan, a former U.S. Marine accused of spying and arrested in 2018, is also considered to be wrongfully detained in Russia by the U.S. State Department. He is serving a 16-year sentence on espionage charges.

Alsu Kurmasheva, a dual Russian-U.S. citizen and journalist at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, was detained in October 2023 on disinformation allegations. U.S. officials have not yet issued a “wrongfully detained” assessment on her detention.  

Russia has rejected allegations that it is intentionally jailing U.S. citizens to use as leverage for negotiations with the West.

Brittney Griner calls for more effort to free Americans detained overseas
WNBA star Brittney Griner on Dec. 8 commemorated one year since her release from Russia and called for more effort to free others currently detained overseas, highlighting the plight of wrongfully imprisoned Americans Paul Whelan and Evan Gershkovich, The Hill reported.
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