Blinken urges Russia for ‘immediate release’ of detained US journalist


US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (left) and Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov meet on the sidelines of the OSCE Ministerial Council in Stockholm, Sweden. — Reuters/File

WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday called for the “immediate release” of a US journalist detained in Russia on espionage charges in a call with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, a spokesperson said.

Blinken “conveyed the United States’ grave concern over Russia’s unacceptable detention of a US citizen journalist. The Secretary called for his immediate release,” spokesperson Vedant Patel said in a statement, adding that the top US diplomat also urged Moscow to release detained American Paul Whelan.

Evan Gershkovich of the Wall Street Journal was detained by security agents in Russia on Wednesday, the newspaper has reported.

Meanwhile, Lavrov — in his call with Blinken — has slammed US officials and Western media asking them to refrain from “hype” over the arrest.

Russia’s foreign ministry also said Lavrov told Blinken that “a court will determine his future fate”, referring to Gershkovich, who has been detained on espionage charges.

“The American side initiated the phone call,” the ministry said on Telegram.



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