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Tuesday June 25, 2024

Biden tells Russia to release US reporter

By AFP
April 01, 2023

WASHINGTON: President Joe Biden on Friday called for Russia to release Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who is being held on espionage charges, while rebuffing a call from the paper´s editorial board to expel Russian journalists from the United States.

Asked by White House reporters what his message was to Russia regarding Gershkovich, a US citizen, Biden said: “Let him go.” The Wall Street Journal´s board of opinion editors called in a piece published on Thursday afternoon for the expulsion of Russia´s ambassador to the United States, as well as “all Russian journalists working here,” describing the move as “the minimum to expect.”

“The timing of the arrest looks like a calculated provocation to embarrass the US and intimidate the foreign press still working in Russia,” it added. Speaking to reporters before leaving to view tornado damage in Mississippi, Biden said that expelling Russian journalists was “not the plan right now.”

Gershkovich was detained in Yekaterinburg, around 1,100 miles east of Moscow, and is being held in detention in Moscow until May 29 pending trial. He is believed to be the first foreign journalist held for spying in post-Soviet Russia, and his arrest is expected to escalate the Kremlin´s confrontation with the West amid Moscow´s war in Ukraine.