U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov held a rare phone call on Sunday to discuss the detention of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who was arrested last week in Russia on espionage charges.
During the call, Blinken expressed concern over Russia's detention of an American citizen journalist and called for Gerskovich's immediate release. The conversation marks a significant communication between high-level United States and Russian officials amid tension over Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Gerskovich’'s arrest is the most high-profile detention of an American journalist since News and World Report correspondent Nicholas Daniloff was detained in Moscow in 1986.
The Kremlin has accused Gershkovich of spying on a Russian military installation and being caught "red-handed." However, no evidence has been presented to support these claims.
The State Department has warned Americans against traveling to Russia due to Washington’s view that the Kremlin will detain Americans as leverage against the United States.
Despite calls from U.S. officials for Gershkovich's release, early indications from Moscow suggest that it may be unlikely.
The situation highlights the importance of creating an environment that allows diplomatic missions to carry out their work without unnecessary interference or harassment.