Russian President Vladimir Putin has hinted at the potential for a prisoner exchange that could result in the release of Evan Gershkovich, a US journalist currently detained in Russia. Gershkovich, a 32-year-old reporter for The Wall Street Journal, has been held in a notorious Moscow prison for nearly a year on espionage charges, which he, his employer, and the US government have vehemently denied.
During an interview with Tucker Carlson, the former Fox News host, Putin expressed optimism about reaching an agreement for Gershkovich's release. "An agreement can be reached," Putin stated, suggesting the possibility of exchanging Gershkovich for a Russian individual convicted of murder and currently serving a life sentence in Germany.
While Putin did not explicitly name the Russian individual, it is believed he was referring to Vadim Krasikov, a suspected FSB agent convicted of murdering a Chechen former separatist fighter in Berlin in 2019.
This statement marks the clearest indication yet that Russia is considering involving Gershkovich in a prisoner swap, sparking hope for his eventual release.
Aside from discussing Gershkovich's situation, Putin's interview with Carlson covered a wide range of topics, including a lengthy monologue on Russian history, the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, and Putin's claims of seeking peace through negotiations with the West.
Putin also addressed accusations of planning to invade NATO countries, dismissing them as "threat-mongering" and asserting that Russia has no interest in attacking nations like Poland or Latvia.