Biden Calls on Russia to Release American Journalist

March 31, 2023

President Biden on Friday called on Russia to release Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich. 

“Let him go,” Biden said on the White House lawn while speaking to reporters before traveling to Mississippi to survey the devastating tornado damage there.

Authorities in Russia have arrested Gershkovich, who’s an accredited journalist in that country, on alleged charges of espionage, which carry a potential 20-year prison term there.

A district court in Moscow said Thursday that Gershkovich would be detained until May 29.

“We’re in the process,” Biden said Friday, competing with the noise of Marine One’s chopper blades.

Vice President Harris, speaking from Zambia on the last leg of her three-nation tour of Africa, echoed remarks from White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre in condemning Gershkovich’s arrest.

“We will not tolerate—and condemn, in fact—repression of journalists,” Harris said.

In an op-ed Thursday evening, the Journal’s Editorial Board called on the White House to expel Russia’s ambassador and Russian journalists in an act of “diplomatic escalation.”

“Thuggish leaders keep doing thuggish things if they think they will pay no price,” the Journal’s Board wrote.

When asked by reporters on the White House lawn Friday if the Administration was going to expel Russian diplomats or journalists, Biden replied, “That’s not the plan right now.” 

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