Home » Evan Gershkovich: US Ambassador in Russia Meets With Jailed Reporter
Featured News Russia United states World News

Evan Gershkovich: US Ambassador in Russia Meets With Jailed Reporter

The US ambassador to Russia was allowed to meet with jailed American journalist Evan Gershkovich for the second time since his imprisonment.

Ambassador Lynne Tracy said the Wall Street Journal reporter was in good health and remained strong.

Accused of espionage, he was arrested on 29 March and is the first western journalist detained in Russia since the Soviet era.

The US, the Wall Street Journal and Mr Gershkovich deny the allegations.

Russia had been brushing aside US requests for more visits since the ambassador’s initial meeting with the reporter in April.

“Ambassador Tracy reports that Mr Gershkovich is in good health and remains strong, despite his circumstances,” a State Department spokesperson said after Monday’s visit.

The 31-year-old is being held at Moscow’s Lefortovo prison, a former KGB prison.

The visit comes after a Moscow court rejected an appeal to free Mr Gershkovich on 22 June, a move the US said at the time was extremely disappointing.

Up until Monday’s meeting, Secretary of State Antony Blinken was pushing Russia “virtually every day” to permit consular access.

This had been a point of contention with the two countries, with the US accusing Russia of ignoring international law by blocking detained Americans diplomatic access.

Russia had indicated their decision was linked to the US refusing visas to a group of Russian reporters assigned to cover Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s visit to the UN Security Council in New York.

The Russian foreign ministry described the decision to deny the visas as an act of “sabotage”.

Mr Lavrov said Russia would neither forgive nor forget the decision.

Along with Mr Gershkovich, the US has also been advocating for the release of Paul Whelan, a former US Marine who has been in jail for more than four years.

Mr Whelan is in Mordovia, an area far southeast of Moscow known for harsh conditions in its prison camps.

“Both men deserve to go home to their families now,” the State Department said in a statement.

After being jailed for 10 months, basketball star Brittney Griner was released in December after the US brokered a prison swap and released Russian Viktor Bout, who was imprisoned in the US over weapons smuggling.

Mr Blinken has said the US is exploring ways to bring home “many other Americans who are being detained in different parts of the world in an arbitrary fashion”.

Source : BBC