Kremlin Open To Talks For Prisoner Swap Involving US Journalist

For the first time since April, the Wall Street Journal writer was able to meet the US ambassador in Moscow on Monday.

The Kremlin reiterated on Tuesday that any discussions with the US on a prospective prisoner swap—which might include imprisoned Wall Street Journal writer Evan Gershkovich—must take place in secret.

When asked if a prisoner swap might be in the works following Monday’s consular visits to Gershkovich, a Russian citizen who has been detained in Moscow since March on espionage charges, and Vladimir Dunaev, a US citizen who is being held on cybercrime charges, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Moscow and Washington have discussed the possibility.

Peskov stated in a conference call with reporters that there have been specific contacts on the subject, but that they should not be discussed publicly. They must be completed and continue in solitude.

He didn’t provide any further information, but he did say that both parties’ legitimate rights to consular communications must be guaranteed.

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US Ambassador Visits Detained Journalist In Moscow

For the first time since April, the Wall Street Journal writer was able to meet the US ambassador in Moscow on Monday.

Lynne Tracy, the US ambassador to Moscow, was given permission to visit Gershkovich on Monday for the first time since April. More information was not immediately given by the US Embassy.

On a journalistic trip to Russia, the 31-year-old Gershkovich was detained in the city of Yekaterinburg. 

He is being incarcerated in the notoriously harsh Lefortovo jail in Moscow. Last Monday, a Moscow court affirmed the decision to keep him detained until August 30.

On US cybercrime accusations, Dunaev was extradited from South Korea and is currently being held in Ohio. 

For the first time since his arrest in 2021, Russian diplomats were given consular access to him on Monday, according to Nadezhda Shumova, the chief of the Russian Embassy’s consular division, in remarks reported by the Tass news agency.

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