President Joe Biden on Thursday made his strongest public promise yet that the United States is “serious” about orchestrating a prisoner swap to secure the release of Evan Gershkovich, the Wall Street Journal reporter detained in Russia.
“I’m serious on a prisoner exchange,” Biden said at a news conference in Helsinki. “And I’m serious about doing all we can to free Americans being illegally held in Russia or anywhere else for that matter, and that process is underway.”
Last week, officials from the Kremlin said they were in talks with U.S. counterparts regarding a potential swap that would include Gershkovich, who has been held in Russia since March. The Biden administration confirmed these discussions but said they had not yet “produced a clear pathway to a resolution.”
Biden’s remarks are perhaps the strongest demonstration of his commitment so far in a public setting. The parents of Gershkovich said in a Wednesday interview with ABC’s “Nightline” that the president had personally assured them he would do “whatever it takes” to get their son home.
Gershkovich was apprehended on espionage charges during a reporting assignment in Yekaterinburg, Russia. Acting as a correspondent following the invasion of Ukraine, he is currently detained in Moscow’s infamously harsh Lefortovo prison. Both the U.S. government and the Journal deny the accusations against Gershkovich.