Biden adviser says US is pushing for release of journalist who spent 100 days in Russian jail

WASHINGTON (AP) — White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Friday that the United States had been in contact with Russian officials to press for the release of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich while that Friday marked the 100th day of the journalist’s detention by the Russian. government.

Sullivan said he also spoke Friday with representatives of Gershkovich’s family and Wall Street Journal officials about the status of the case and the administration’s efforts to secure the journalist’s release.

Earlier this week, the Kremlin suggested it was open to a possible prisoner swap that could involve Gershkovich, but stressed that such talks should be held out of public view.

“I don’t want to give false hope,” Sullivan told reporters. “What the Kremlin said earlier this week is correct. There have been discussions. But those discussions have not resulted in a clear path to a resolution, and so I cannot stand here today and tell you that we have a clear answer on how we are going to get Evan home.

US Ambassador to Moscow Lynne Tracy was allowed to visit Gershkovich on Monday for the first time since April.

Gershkovich was arrested for spying in the city of Yekaterinburg while on a reporting trip. He is being held in Lefortovo prison in Moscow, known for its harsh conditions. A Moscow court last week upheld a decision to keep him in detention until August 30.

Gershkovich and his employer deny the allegations, and the US government has declared him wrongfully detained. His arrest shook journalists in Russia. Authorities have provided no evidence to support the espionage charges.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre reiterated the US position that Gershkovich’s detention was baseless. She reiterated the administration’s call for the immediate release of Gershkovich and Paul Whelan, a Marine Corps veteran held in Russia for espionage for four years.

“Our message to Evan and Paul is: keep the faith. We won’t stop until you’re home,” Jean-Pierre said.

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