In interview, Tucker Carlson asks Russia’s Vladimir Putin about jailed WSJ reporter, his reply

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday said he was open to release jailed Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who is awaiting trial on spying charges, in exchange for a Russian prisoner. Speaking with US television host Tucker Carlson – Vladimir Putin’s first interview with an American journalist since before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine nearly two years ago – the Russian president suggested that in return for Gershkovich, Moscow wanted Germany to free Vadim Krasikov – who was convicted of the murder of a Chechen dissident in Berlin in 2019.

Russian President Vladimir Putin(via REUTERS)

During the interview, Vladimir Putin said Moscow and American special services were discussing the WSJ reporter’s case and had made some progress.

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“We are willing to solve it but there are certain terms being discussed via special services channels. I believe an agreement can be reached…There have been many successful examples of these talks crowned with success. Probably this is going to be crowned with success as well but we have to come to an agreement,” Vladimir Putin was quoted as saying by news agency Reuters.

Gershkovich, who was arrested on March 29 last year during a reporting trip in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg, was accused of trying to obtain Russian defence secrets. Without evidence, the Russian authorities had claimed that Gershkovich had been tasked “by the American side” with gathering information on “the activities of one of the enterprises of the military-defence complex”.

However, the 32-year-old reporter and his newspaper have strongly rejected the spying allegations, with the US government designating him as “wrongfully detained”.

Last month, a Moscow court extended the American reporter’s custody by two months. Notably, Gershkovich is the first Western reporter to be jailed on spying charges in Russia since the Soviet era.

Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin, during the interview, also asserted that while Russia will fight for its interests “to the end”, he has no interest in expanding its war in Ukraine to other countries such as Poland and Latvia.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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