Russia rejects request for release of US journalist Evan Gershkovich, Washington says

Washington DC - Moscow has rejected a new proposal for the release of US citizens Evan Gershkovich and Paul Whelan, who are currently detained in Russia, Washington said on Tuesday.

Moscow has rejected a new proposal for the release of US citizens Evan Gershkovich (pictured) and Paul Whelan, who are currently detained in Russia, Washington said on Tuesday.
Moscow has rejected a new proposal for the release of US citizens Evan Gershkovich (pictured) and Paul Whelan, who are currently detained in Russia, Washington said on Tuesday.  © NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA / AFP

"In recent weeks we made a new and significant proposal to secure Paul and Evan's release," State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said on Tuesday in a press briefing in Washington. "That proposal was rejected by Russia."

Miller did not provide details of the proposal but clarified the request was rejected rather than ignored.

"This was not a case of them not having responded to us. They rejected the offer that was on the table," Miller told reporters, stressing that the two US nationals were "wrongfully detained."

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Gershkovich, a Wall Street Journal correspondent, was detained at the end of March while on a reporting trip in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg in the Urals.

He is accused of collecting secret information on Russia's military-industrial complex for US agencies. Gershkovich and his employer deny that he was involved in any espionage.

A Russian court has recently extended the journalist's pre-trial detention until January 30.

Paul Whelan is also currently imprisoned in Russia. He was convicted of alleged espionage in 2018.

Cover photo: NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA / AFP

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