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Kremlin Open to Talks Over Potential Prisoner Swap Involving Detained U.S. Reporter Evan Gershkovich

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich stands in a glass cage in a courtroom at the Moscow City Court in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, June 22, 2023. (AP Photo/Dmitry Serebryakov)
Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich stands in a glass cage in a courtroom at the Moscow City Court in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, June 22, 2023. (AP Photo/Dmitry Serebryakov)

The Kremlin on Tuesday held the door open for contacts with the U.S. regarding a possible prisoner exchange that could potentially involve jailed Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, but reaffirmed that such talks must be held out of the public eye.

Asked whether Monday’s consular visits to Gershkovich, who has been held behind bars in Moscow since March on charges of espionage, and Vladimir Dunaev, a Russian citizen in U.S. custody on cybercrime charges, could potentially herald a prisoner swap, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Moscow and Washington have touched on the issue.

“We have said that there have been certain contacts on the subject, but we don’t want them to be discussed in public,” Peskov said in a conference call with reporters. “They must be carried out and continue in complete silence.”

He didn’t offer any further details, but added that “the lawful right to consular contacts must be ensured on both sides.”

The U.S. Ambassador to Moscow, Lynne Tracy, on Monday was allowed to visit Gershkovich for the first time since April. The U.S. Embassy did not immediately provide more information.

Related Story: U.S. Designates WSJ Reporter Evan Gershokovich as ‘Wrongfully Detained’

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