Russia may discuss prisoner swap involving WSJ reporter after verdict, says official

The Wall Street Journal journalist Evan Gershkovich is shown in this undated photo. (The Wall Street Journal via AP)
The Wall Street Journal journalist Evan Gershkovich is shown in this undated photo. (The Wall Street Journal via AP)

Russia may be willing to discuss a potential prisoner swap involving jailed Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich with the US after a court delivers its verdict, a top Russian diplomat says.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov tells state news agency Tass that talks about a possible exchange could take place through a dedicated channel that Russian and US 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 says, adding that there is no need for the involvement of any third country.

However, he emphasizes that Moscow will only negotiate a possible prisoner exchange after a court delivers its verdict in the espionage case against Gershkovich, 31.

Meanwhile, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denies reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin personally sanctioned Gershkovich’s arrest.

“It’s not the president’s prerogative. It’s up to the special services, who are doing their job,” Peskov says in a conference call with reporters.

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