American journalist Evan Gershkovich met with Lynne Tracy, U.S. ambassador to Russia, on Monday. Representatives of the Biden administration made their second trip since the detention of the Wall Street Journal reporter in March.
Tracy and other U.S. consular officials last had contact with Gershkovich on April 17, or about two weeks after Russian government agents had taken him into custody. Gershkovich must remain behind bars until August 30 per a ruling made by a Moscow court last month.
According to Ambassador Tracy, journalist Evan Gershkovich is strong and in good health despite his circumstances, the State Department said in a statement.
“U.S. Embassy officials will continue to provide all appropriate support to Mr. Gershkovich and his family, and we expect Russian authorities to provide continued consular access.”
The spokesperson called on Russia to release Gershkovich, reiterating that the charges are baseless.
“We also call for the immediate release of Paul Whelan,” the spokesperson added. Russia has wrongfully detained Mr. Whelan for over four years.Both men deserve to go home to their families now.”
Gershkovich is currently held at Moscow’s Lefortovo Prison after the Russian Federal Security Service initially detained him on March 30. Russian state media reported that the Russian Federal Security Service issued a statement accusing Gershkovich of “espionage in the interests of the American government.” However, Russian authorities have not provided any evidence to substantiate the charges.
In an interview last week, NBC News’ Tom Llamas interviewed Roger Carstens, the special presidential envoy for hostage affairs, who stated that it is still uncertain how the recent events in Russia involving the Wagner mercenary group and Russian President Vladimir Putin will impact Gershkovich’s case.