Journalist Evan Gershkovich, detained in Russia, is in “good health”, according to the American ambassador
Lynne Tracy, the United States ambassador to Russia, was authorized Monday to visit the Moscow prison of Lefortovo, the American journalist Evan Gershkovich. This is only their second meeting since the arrest of the journalist from Wall Street Journal during a report in Yekaterinburg (Urals) on March 29. Russian authorities have repeatedly refused to grant a consular visit to Evan Gershkovich, the target of charges of” spying “ which he rejects.
“Ambassador Tracy has communicated that Mr. Gershkovich is in good health and remains strong, despite the circumstances”said a spokesman for the State Department.
Evan Gershkovich is the first foreign journalist arrested in Russia for spying since the fall of the Soviet Union. His arrest comes in the context of serious diplomatic tensions between the United States and Russia caused by the conflict in Ukraine. The United States and Evan Gershkovich’s employer, the Wall Street Journal, like him reject the accusations of” spying “ formulated by the Russian authorities. They accuse Moscow of attacking him because of his work as a journalist.
The State Department said it would continue to press for Evan Gershkovich’s release and would seek regular consular access in the meantime. Russia explained that it opposed this access in response to the American refusal to issue visas to certain Russian journalists in April.
Last week, the head of American diplomacy, Antony Blinken, expressed concern about this lack of access to Evan Gershkovich and assured that the United States was putting pressure “virtually every day” to remedy. “At the same time, we continue to look for ways to bring him home”, as did Paul Whelan, a former Marine Corps non-commissioned officer who has been incarcerated for four years, Blinken added. Ambassador Tracy has not seen Mr. Whelan since May.
A Moscow court rejected Evan Gershkovich’s June 22 release request. Lynne Tracy, who attended the hearing, claimed that the United States was “extremely disappointed”.
In December, American basketball player Brittney Griner, arrested in Russia on cannabis trafficking charges, was freed against Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer held prisoner in the United States.