MOSCOW (AP) — U.S. Ambassador to Russia Lynne Tracy on Monday made her third visit to Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who has been behind bars in Russia since March on charges of espionage.
Tracy last visited Gershkovich in early July.
“Ambassador Tracy said that Evan appears in good health and remains strong, despite his very challenging circumstances. Embassy officials will continue to provide all appropriate support to Evan and his family. And we expect Russian authorities to provide continued consular access,” said State Department spokesman Vedant Patel.
“Once again, we call on the Russian Federation to immediately release Evan Gershkovich, as well as fellow, wrongfully detained, US citizen, Paul Whelan,” he said. Whelan was arrested in 2018 and in 2020 was sentenced to 16 years in prison for espionage.
A 31-year-old U.S. citizen, Gershkovich was arrested in the city of Yekaterinburg while on a reporting trip to Russia.
He and his employer denied the allegations, and the U.S. government declared him to be wrongfully detained. His arrest rattled journalists in Russia, where authorities have not provided any evidence to support the espionage charges.
Gershkovich is being held at Moscow’s Lefortovo prison, notorious for its harsh conditions.
He is the first American reporter to face espionage charges in Russia since September 1986, when Nicholas Daniloff, a Moscow correspondent for U.S. News and World Report, was arrested by the KGB. Daniloff was released 20 days later in a swap for an employee of the Soviet Union’s U.N. mission who was arrested by the FBI, also on spying charges.