Blinken Spoke with Russian Counterpart about Arrested U.S. Journalist

April 3, 2023

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday that he had spoken with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov about arrested U.S. journalist Evan Gershkovich.

On Thursday Russia’s FSB security services said Gershkovich, who reports for the Wall Street Journal, “was collecting classified information about the activities of one of the enterprises of the Russian military industrial complex.”

Despite the Russian Foreign Ministry and the FSB acknowledging that Gershkovich is an accredited journalist in Russia, the 31-year-old American has been charged with espionage, which carries a potential prison sentence in Russia of up to 20 years. 

The Journal’s editor-in-chief Emma Tucker said in an interview Sunday that the charges against Gershkovich are “entirely bogus,” adding that it’s “hugely reassuring” to learn Blinken and Lavrov have spoken.

“We’re hoping that the government will move swiftly to designate Evan as wrongfully detained,” Tucker said. “It can take a long time, but we’re hoping, we’re optimistic it’ll move a bit more swiftly in this case.”

In a statement, Blinken’s office said the Secretary of State had “conveyed the United States’ grave concern over Russia’s unacceptable detention of a U.S. citizen journalist” and “called for his immediate release.”

In March, during his last face-to-face encounter with Lavrov, Blinken urged the Foreign Minister to accept a proposal for the release of American Paul Whelan. The former Marine was arrested in 2018 and is serving a 16-year sentence in a Russian penal colony on what his family says are fabricated charges of spying.

PHOTO: LinkedIn

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