Follow Us

White House confirms prisoner swap talks for WSJ reporter Gershkovich

"I do not want to give false hope," Sullivan cautioned.

Published: July 7, 2023 3:46pm

Updated: July 7, 2023 8:02pm

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on Friday confirmed that Washington had discussed the prospect of a prisoner swap with the Kremlin to recover imprisoned Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich.

During a White House press briefing, Sullivan stated that "there have been discussions, but those discussions have not produced a clear pathway."

"We have also made clear for months now, even before Evan was detained as we were dealing with Paul Whelan, that we are prepared to do hard things in order to get our citizens," he continued. "We have said that we remain in contact with Russian authorities, at high levels, on these cases."

"I do not want to give false hope," Sullivan cautioned.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Monday told reporters that there had been "certain contacts on the subject" but insisted that Moscow would keep the discussions private.

Some have floated the prospect of trading imprisoned Russian alleged cybercriminal Vladimir Dunaev for Gershkovich.

The Wall Street Journal reporter was arrested in March by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), who have accused him of "acting at the behest of the American side, collect[ing] information constituting a state secret about the activities of an enterprise within Russia’s military-industrial complex."

Russia previously traded WNBA star Brittney Griner, whom authorities had imprisoned on drug charges, for convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout. The trade prompted scrutiny in the U.S. with many questioning why the White House failed to secure the release of former Marine Paul Whelan, who had been Muscovite custody much longer and remains so.

Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on Twitter.

The Facts Inside Our Reporter's Notebook

Just the News Spotlight