‘We keep the faith’: Biden says US is working to bring Evan Gershkovich home
President Joe Biden said this weekend he is doing everything in his power to free Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich from Russian custody, while friends and colleagues continue to send letters of support to keep his spirits up.
“We work every day to secure his release and are looking for ways and tools to bring him home,” Biden told the audience, which included Gershkovich’s parents, at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on Saturday. “We keep the faith.”
Gershkovich, who was found wrongly detained by the US State Department, was arrested by Russia’s Federal Security Service in Yekaterinburg in late March, becoming the first US journalist to be arrested on espionage charges since the Cold War.
Gershkovich, the Journal and the US have all denied the allegations.
Last month, a judge denied Gershkovich’s request to be released from custody, meaning he will remain there until at least May 29.
Russia also blocked a request for a consular visit to the reporter on May 11 in retaliation for the US preventing Russian journalists from accompanying Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on his trip to the United Nations in New York.
“Other possible retaliatory measures, of which the US side is duly informed, will be considered,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Friday.
Meanwhile, Gershkovich’s friends and family have launched a campaign to send him letters of support. A group of volunteers in Russia are tasked with translating the letters into Russian in accordance with the country’s laws and sending them to Lefortovo prison, where he is being held.
“I am humbled and deeply touched by all the letters I have received. I have read each one carefully and with gratitude,” Gershkovich said in a statement shared through his attorneys on Thursday.
“One of the best ways to support him is to make sure he knows he’s the center of attention around the world right now,” Polina Ivanova, a former Financial Times staffer in Russia and a friend of Gershkovich who helps the Letters to organize campaign, NBC News said.
Last week, the Biden administration imposed a series of new sanctions aimed at deterring and punishing those who wrongfully arrest and hold Americans hostage.