Jul 13, 2023 - World

Biden: "I am serious about prisoner exchange" for Evan Gershkovich

Joe Biden gestures as an image of US journalist Evan Gershkovich appears onscreen during the White House Correspondents' Association dinner

President Biden alongside an image of journalist Evan Gershkovich on April 29. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden confirmed on Thursday that the U.S. intends to seek a prisoner swap between the U.S. and Russia in order to bring detained Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich home.

Why it matters: It's the most significant update from the president to date on Gershkovich's captivity, which recently surpassed the 100-day mark.

State of play: "I’m serious about prisoner exchange. I’m serious about doing all we can to free Americans being illegally held in Russia or anywhere else for that matter," Biden said at a joint press briefing with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö, in response to a question about Gershkovich.

  • "That process is underway," he added.
  • The Kremlin signaled earlier this month that it might be open to a prisoner exchange for Gershkovich, but that talks would need to be conducted in secrecy.
  • National security adviser Jake Sullivan confirmed last Friday that there had been a discussion between the U.S. and Russia on the matter but noted that the talks have "not produced a clear pathway to a resolution."

The big picture: Gershkovich was arrested on espionage charges in late March — the first time Russia detained a U.S. journalist on spying charges since the Cold War.

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