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Putin hints at possible prisoner swap for WSJ reporter Evan Gershkovich

putin-hints-at-possible-prisoner-swap-for-wsj-reporter-evan-gershkovich
Putin hints at possible prisoner swap for WSJ reporter Evan Gershkovich

Russian President Vladimir Putin floated a potential prisoner swap when asked about releasing Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who has been wrongfully detained in Russia for nearly a year.

Gershkovich was arrested last March as Russian authorities leveled dubious espionage charges against him. Both the State Department and The Wall Street Journal categorically denied those allegations. 

He has been kept in Moscow for over 300 days. 

WALL STREET JOURNAL REPORTER EVAN GERSHKOVICH PASSES 300 DAYS IN RUSSIAN DETAINMENT

Gershkovich at Moscow court

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich stands in a glass cage in a courtroom at the Moscow City Court, in Moscow, Russia, on Thursday, Dec. 14, 2023.  (AP Photo/Dmitry Serebryakov)

In an interview published Thursday with commentator Tucker Carlson, Putin suggested that Gershkovich could be released through a prisoner exchange and that discussions between the U.S. and Russia are underway. 

“There is no taboo to settle this issue. We’re willing to solve it,” Putin said. “But there are certain terms being discussed via special services channels. I believe an agreement can be reached.”

WALL STREET JOURNAL EDITOR WORKING ON EVAN GERSHKOVICH’S RELEASE SAYS PATH FORWARD ‘EXTREMELY COMPLICATED’

The Wall Street Journal issued a statement to Fox News saying, “We’re encouraged to see Russia’s desire for a deal that brings Evan home, and we hope this will lead to his rapid release and return to his family and our newsroom.”

The State Department did not comment on Putin’s remarks but reiterated that Gershkovich should be released immediately. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin sitting

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin attending a meeting with President of the United Arab Emirates in Abu Dhabi on December 6, 2023. (Sergei SAVOSTYANOV / POOL / AFP )

Gershkovich, the 32-year-old son of Soviet immigrants, was arrested March 29 while reporting in Yekaterinburg, the fourth-largest city in Russia, and was accused of being a spy, which the U.S. government has forcefully denied. 

He has been denied all his appeals and faces a likely conviction.

Gershkovich has since been held in the notorious Lefortovo prison in Moscow for nearly a year, spending roughly 90% of his day in a small cell, according to the WSJ. 

EVAN GERSHKOVICH STAYING STRONG AS FRIENDS, FAMILY REMAIN FRUSTRATED OVER INDEFINITE RUSSIAN DETAINMENT

“He’s doing the best he can under the circumstances, and the circumstances are very hard,” his mother Ella Milman said last month, adding that Lefortovo prison is “basically designed to isolate you and break you down.” 

“He doesn’t see daylight, it’s hard,” his mother continued. “But he’s fighting, he’s answering letters, we get a letter from him every week… he gets to read and he requests literature that he wants to read, he keeps his spirits up and his letter are humorous, make me laugh. He tries hard, I think, for us. We are worried about him, he is worried about us.” 

Evan Gershkovich

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich has been wrongfully detained by Russia during a reporting trip and accused of espionage. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)

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U.S. Ambassador to Russia Lynne Tracy has visited Gershkovich in prison and kept his family updated on his condition. His friends have also told Fox News Digital he’s kept his sense of humor and tried to stay upbeat while languishing in custody.

Fox News’ Brian Flood contributed to this report.

Joseph A. Wulfsohn is a media reporter for Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent to joseph.wulfsohn@fox.com and on Twitter: @JosephWulfsohn.

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