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Russian official says U.S. exerting “pressure and threats“ over jailed WSJ reporter

2023-05-09T09:18:04Z

A senior Russian official accused the United States on Tuesday of exerting “pressure and threats” on Moscow over the case of detained Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, state-owned news agencies reported.

TASS quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov as saying Moscow would ignore such tactics. He did not say what form the alleged pressure had taken.

Gershkovich was arrested in March and accused of espionage, which he and his newspaper deny. The United States says he has been wrongfully detained and is attempting to gain his release.

“Dialogue involves searching for some sort of solutions. On the American side we see only attempts at pressure and threats. This is not the way to conduct dialogue,” TASS quoted Ryabkov as saying.

Russia will consider requests for consular access to Gershkovich “in a calm working vein, regardless of attempts by the Americans to exert this or that pressure”, he said.

Last month, Moscow rejected a U.S. embassy request to visit Gershkovich after Washington refused to grant visas to a group of Russian journalists assigned to accompany Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to the United Nations in New York.

Relations between Moscow and Washington have hit rock bottom since the Russian invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022.

Gershkovich’s arrest – the first time an American reporter had been accused of spying in Russia since 1986 – was widely seen in the West as a move by Moscow to secure a bargaining chip to trade in a prisoner release.

Ryabkov has previously said that any exchange could only be considered after a court has reached a verdict in the case.

Related Galleries:

A view shows the Moscow City Court building after a hearing to consider an appeal against the detention of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, charged with espionage, in Moscow, Russia April 18, 2023. REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov attends a news conference at the Russian Mission after his speech at the Conference on Disarmament at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland March 2, 2023. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse