On Thursday, the Biden administration verified that they are currently involved in “dialogues” aiming to secure the release of Evan Gershkovich, a Wall Street Journal reporter, from a Russian jail.
This development follows Russia’s willingness to consider a possible prisoner exchange.
Gershkovich was apprehended towards the end of March and accused of espionage, a serious offense punishable by a 20-year imprisonment term.
The United States seems to be discreetly collaborating with Russia to facilitate the liberation of Gershkovich and Paul Whelan, a former Marine incarcerated in Russia for over four years.
A representative from the State Department communicated to the Washington Free Beacon that due to the ongoing efforts to free Paul and Evan, they would refrain from divulging specifics about the dialogue process.
These talks are in response to queries regarding the Kremlin’s statement earlier this week suggesting the possibility of a prisoner exchange.
The assertions from the State Department seem to validate the Kremlin’s proclamation that discussions about a potential prisoner swap with American representatives are ongoing.
This could potentially be the second such exchange in half a year.
Despite Russia’s unwarranted aggression towards Ukraine – an act that has earned it vehement denouncement from the United States – diplomatic communication lines with Moscow remain open.
The State Department’s remarks seem to validate the assertions made by the Kremlin regarding ongoing discussions with American officials regarding a potential exchange of prisoners, marking a potential second swap within six months.
According to Russian spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, there are indications that the release of both Gershkovich and Whelan is now being considered; however, he emphasized the need for confidential negotiations.
On Monday, Lynne Tracy, the U.S. ambassador to Russia, was granted permission to visit Gershkovich, marking the first instance of American officials being provided consular access since April 17.
The State Department reaffirmed that Gershkovich is being held in wrongful detention, emphasizing that the charges against him hold no basis.
Continuously advocating for their freedom, the United States strongly urges the prompt release of both Gershkovich and Whelan. The State Department further asserted that both individuals must be reunited with their families without delay, emphasizing their deserving right to return home.