Russia might be willing to discuss a potential prisoner swap with the U.S. involving jailed Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich after his trial on espionage charges, a top Russian diplomat said Thursday.
Gershkovich, 31, his employer and the U. S. government all deny he was involved in spying and have demanded his release.
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told the state news agency Tass that talks about a possible exchange could take place through a dedicated channel that Russian and U.S. security agencies established for such purposes.
“We have a working channel that was used in the past to achieve concrete agreements, and these agreements were fulfilled,” Ryabkov said, adding that there was no need for the involvement of any third country.
However, he emphasized that Moscow would only negotiate a possible prisoner exchange after a trial. “The issue of exchanging anyone could only be considered after a court delivers its verdict,” he was quoted by Tass as saying.