International

Blinken: Reporter’s detention sends warning about ‘even setting foot’ in Russia

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said late Tuesday that Russia’s detainment of a Wall Street Journal reporter sends a warning to the world about “even setting foot” in the country.

Blinken said at a press conference that Evan Gershkovich’s detainment is a warning to anyone considering visiting Russia. The State Department officially declared the reporter as “wrongfully detained” by Russia on Monday, nearly two weeks after he was arrested.

“And I think it sends a very strong message to people around the world to beware of even setting foot there lest they be arbitrarily detained, and in the context of being arbitrarily detained not even having access for the diplomats who are there to look out for their interests and who, as a matter of solemn international obligations that Russia has undertaken, should be allowed that access,” Blinken said Tuesday.

“I’m not going to get into what measures, steps we’re taking or might take to do that.  I can simply tell you that we are engaged every single day in pressing for that access as well as pressing for Evan’s release,” he said.

Blinken also said that President Biden spoke to Gershkovich’s family on Tuesday.

Blinken added that he pressed for Gershkovich’s immediate release and for immediate consular access to him while speaking to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov last week.

“The fact that Russia has not granted that access puts it once again in violation of international commitments it’s made, commitments that are at the heart of diplomatic relations between countries and the ability of our citizens as well to be able to safely be present in other countries,” Blinken added.

Gershkovich was arrested last month and was accused of accused of spying on behalf of the U.S. government. He was formally charged with espionage in Russia last week as U.S officials and news organizations have demanded for his release.

The White House has said that it will “do everything we can” to get Gershkovich released, with White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre saying last week that the charges brought against him were “ridiculous.”

Tags Antony Blinken Antony Blinken Evan Gershkovich state department

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