UNITED STATES NEWS

Biden says he’s working to secure release of Wall Street Journal reporter held for a year in Russia

Mar 29, 2024, 6:05 AM | Updated: 12:24 pm

NEW YORK (AP) — On the one-year anniversary of the Russian detention of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, President Joe Biden said the U.S. is working every day to secure his release.

“Journalism is not a crime, and Evan went to Russia to do his job as a reporter — risking his safety to shine the light of truth on Russia’s brutal aggression against Ukraine,” Biden said in a statement Friday.

Biden told reporters later Friday that he held Gershkovich in high regard.

“I admire the hell out of him,” Biden said before he traveled from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland to the Camp David presidential retreat. “We’re not giving up.”

Gershkovich was arrested while on a reporting trip to the Ural Mountains city of Yekaterinburg. The Federal Security Service, or FSB, alleges he was acting on U.S. orders to collect state secrets but provided no evidence to support the accusation, which he, the Journal and the U.S. government deny. Washington designated him as wrongfully detained.

On Friday, there was a giant blank space on the front page of The Wall Street Journal, with an image at the top of the page of Gershkovich in the newspaper’s signature pencil drawing and a headline that read: “His Story Should be Here.”

A recent court hearing offered little new information on Gershkovich’s case. He was ordered to remain behind bars pending trial at least until June 30, the fifth extension of his detention.

But the periodic court hearings at least give Gershkovich’s family and friends and U.S. officials a glimpse of him. And for the 32-year-old journalist, it’s a break from his otherwise largely monotonous prison routine.

Biden said in the statement that he would never give up hope.

“We will continue working every day to secure his release,” the Democratic president said. “We will continue to denounce and impose costs for Russia’s appalling attempts to use Americans as bargaining chips. And we will continue to stand strong against all those who seek to attack the press or target journalists — the pillars of free society.”

Biden said that the U.S. was working to free all Americans held hostage or wrongfully detained abroad.

Another American accused of espionage is Paul Whelan, a corporate executive from Michigan. He was arrested in 2018 in Russia and sentenced two years later to 16 years in prison. Whelan, who said he traveled to Moscow to attend a friend’s wedding, has maintained his innocence and said the charges against him were fabricated.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement that both Gershkovich and Whelan have “remained resilient despite the circumstances of living in Russian detention.”

“People are not bargaining chips,” Blinken said. “Russia should end its practice of arbitrarily detaining individuals for political leverage and should immediately release Evan and Paul.”

United States News

Stools line the bar at Elwood's Liquor and Tap on Thursday, July 18, 2024 in Milwaukee, Wis. This w...

Associated Press

Outside the RNC, small Milwaukee businesses and their regulars tried to salvage a sluggish week

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Jay Nelson was standing outside the convenience store he manages in downtown Milwaukee when one of his regular customers walked by on her daily stroll around the neighborhood. “I’ve been telling people to come and buy even just a bottle of wine,” she said, stretching out her arms. “I hope it helps.” […]

13 minutes ago

Descendants of Nelson Bell, brothers Milford Fonza, front left, and Elmer Fonza, front right, surro...

Associated Press

In a California gold rush town, some Black families are fighting for land taken from their ancestors

COLOMA, Calif. (AP) — In a tiny town where the California gold rush began, Black families are seeking restitution for land that was taken from their ancestors to make way for a state park now frequented by fourth graders learning about the state’s history. Their efforts in Coloma, a town of around 300 people that’s […]

14 minutes ago

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich stands listening to the verdict in a glass cage of a ...

Associated Press

Russia convicts US journalist of spying in a trial widely seen as politically motivated

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich was convicted Friday of espionage and sentenced to 16 years in a maximum-security prison on charges that his employer and the U.S. government have rejected as fabricated.

20 minutes ago

An image of President Joe Biden is projected on a screen during the final night of the 2024 Republi...

Associated Press

Biden’s ability to win back skeptical Democrats tested at a perilous moment for his campaign

WASHINGTON (AP) — Despite a week of campaign stops, interviews and a determined insistence he is the best candidate to confront Republican Donald Trump, President Joe Biden’s efforts to revive his reelection bid and win over skeptical Democrats have done little to soften the push for him to exit the 2024 race. Biden has weighty […]

20 minutes ago

Associated Press

Alaska election officials to recalculate signatures for ranked vote repeal measure after court order

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A state court judge on Friday disqualified numerous booklets used to gather signatures for an initiative that aims to repeal Alaska’s ranked choice voting system and gave elections officials a deadline to determine if the measure still had sufficient signatures to qualify for the November ballot. The decision by Superior Court […]

2 hours ago

A supporter cheers during the Republican National Convention Thursday, July 18, 2024, in Milwaukee....

Associated Press

Republicans emerge from their convention thrilled with Trump and talking about a blowout victory

The Republicans who packed Milwaukee for the RNC this week expressed a collective confidence at levels not seen in decades.

3 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s how to be worry-free when your A/C goes out in the middle of summer

PHOENIX -- As Arizona approaches another hot summer, Phoenix residents are likely to spend more time indoors.

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

Biden says he’s working to secure release of Wall Street Journal reporter held for a year in Russia