Evan Gershkovich's family speaks out on one-year anniversary of Russian arrest

Moscow, Russia - One year after Wall Street Journal correspondent Evan Gershkovich was arrested in Russia on espionage charges, his family vowed to continue fighting for his release, saying his innocence gives him courage in the face of the ordeal.

WSJ correspondent Evan Gershkovich's sister Danielle, along with his parents Mikhail (r.) and Ella (2nd from l.) released a statement on the anniversary of his arrest in Russia.
WSJ correspondent Evan Gershkovich's sister Danielle, along with his parents Mikhail (r.) and Ella (2nd from l.) released a statement on the anniversary of his arrest in Russia.  © Kriston Jae Bethel / AFP

"We never anticipated this situation happening to our son and brother, let alone a full year with no certainty or clear path forward," his family said Friday in a letter to the readers of the Wall Street Journal. "But despite this long battle, we are still standing strong."

Gershkovich was detained on March 29, 2023, and accused of spying – the first such charge against a Western journalist since the Soviet-era.

Gershkovich, his employers and the White House all vehemently reject the spying accusations, saying he was an honest journalist doing his job.

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Most recently, a court in Moscow on Tuesday ruled that the 32-year-old would remain in detention until late June.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed willingness to exchange Gershkovich in a prisoner swap, and the Kremlin on Thursday said conversations were still ongoing behind the scenes.

Gershkovich's family describes "unimaginable" pain

In their letter, Gershkovich's parents, Mikhail and Ella, and sister Danielle described the past year as "unimaginable."

"It has felt like holding our breath," the family wrote. "We have been living with a constant ache in our hearts thinking about Evan every moment of every day."

The family thanked the US government, the Journal, as well as Gershkovich's friends and well-wishers for working towards his release and for their support. President Joe Biden has also promised to do "whatever it takes" to bring the reporter home.

"Throughout all the challenges in this tumultuous time we've watched as Evan has faced this uncertainty, stuck in a small cell, with limited news of the world, without his freedom."

Cover photo: Kriston Jae Bethel / AFP

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