Vladimir Putin (71 years old) does not rule out the possibility of exchanging Americans in Russian prisons. But the Russian president believes that the United States should surrender after that.
There is no information about the requirements that Americans must meet.
- Ivan Gershkovitch, 32, was taken into custody on Friday. The Wall Street Journal journalist is accused of espionage.
- Paul Whelan (53 years old) was sentenced to 16 years in prison for espionage, but he denies guilt himself. He is a former soldier.
When Vladimir Putin held a news conference for the first time in two years on Thursday, The New York Times was allowed to ask questions. They asked why the two were refused to return to the United States. President Putin replied:
-We do not refuse to return them. We want to reach an agreement, but these agreements must be acceptable to both parties. There is a dialogue about this, but it is not easy.
– I hope we find a solution, but the American side must listen to us.
Ivan Gershkovitch was arrested by the Federal Security Service on March 29, 2023. He faces 10 to 20 years in prison. According to Russian intelligence, the journalist worked “on instructions from the American side, on information that constitutes a state secret about the activities of one of the companies in the Russian military-industrial complex.” The American was arrested in Yekaterinburg, where this military project is located.
US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said on Wednesday this week that the release of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich is a priority for President Joe Biden, reports said. The Wall Street Journal.
US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller recently said that Russia had rejected a new offer to release Gershkovitch and Paul Whelan. He claimed that the United States had made a “big offer.”
Ivan Gershkovitch and his employer, The Wall Street Journal, categorically deny the accusations against him. Whelan also denies criminal guilt of espionage.
One year ago, basketball star Brittney Griner was traded to notorious arms dealer Viktor Bout. She was charged with violating drug laws.
Norwegian Frode Berg was exchanged in November 2019. By then he had spent nearly two years in a Russian prison and was sentenced to 14 years in prison for espionage.
Gershkovitch is being held in the same notorious prison in Moscow that Berg was in all along: Lefortovo.
Putin’s session on Thursday lasted four hours and 12 minutes. Here you can see two of the funniest minutes:
“Organizer. Social media geek. General communicator. Bacon scholar. Proud pop culture trailblazer.”