Wall Street Journal reporter detained in Russia meets with US Ambassador in Moscow prison

This is the second visit with the ambassador since his arrest in March.

The US ambassador to Russia was able to meet with Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who has been imprisoned in Russia. This is the second such visit since his arrest in March. 

The US has made repeated requests to meet with Gershkovich, but Lynne Tracy was able to meet with him in Moscow's Lefortovo prison on Monday, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The detainment and subsequent Russian resistance to give the US access to Gershkovich has become a subject of tension between the two countries. 

Gershkovich is a 31-year-old American citizen who was approved by the Russian Foreign Ministry to work in the region as a journalist. He was detained by the Federal Security Service (FSB) on allegations of espionage in Russia after going on a trip to the city of Yekaterinburg. 

The Wall Street Journal and the US have denied the accusations and have repeatedly said he is not working for the US government in any fashion. 

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday that the US has continued to ask for access to Gershkovich "virtually every day."

"[W]e are continuing to explore ways to bring him home—Paul Whelan as well—and many other Americans."

"We've brought a lot of Americans home over the last two and a half years." Blinken added. “Evan is front and center in our thinking."

Paul Whelan is another person who has been arrested and charged in the Russian prison system. Whelan is a former Marine that was drawn up on charges and accused of espionage in 2020. WNBA player Brittney Griner was arrested in Russia last year on cannabis charges and was returned to the US late last year in a prisoner exchange, though Whelan stayed behind.

Legal experts say that it could take many months before Gershkovich's case of espionage is brought before a trial. When he was brought up on the charges he pleaded not guilty. He is the first American journalist since the Cold War to be accused of spying in Russia.

At the Vienna Conventions of 1963, the US and Russia both signed an agreement that allows state consuls access to their nationals who are detained while abroad. 

In mid-June, there was a congressional resolution calling for Gershkovich's immediate release that had bipartisan support. The resolution passed 422-0. 

According to the Wall Street Journal, Russian officials have hinted at the consideration of a prisoner swap for Gershkovich, but a verdict must first be reached in court. 
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