Trump Promises ‘Immediate’ Release of US Journalist, But Kremlin Denies Contact

 Trump Promises ‘Immediate’ Release of US Journalist, But Kremlin Denies Contact

Mikhail Klimentyev | TASS | Getty Images

Donald Trump stirred controversy again with a bold claim about securing the release of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who is currently detained in Russia on charges of espionage. Trump asserted that, if re-elected, Gershkovich would be “released immediately,” even before his presidential term begins. “He will be HOME, SAFE, AND WITH HIS FAMILY. Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, will do that for me, but not for anyone else, and WE WILL BE PAYING NOTHING!” Trump proclaimed during a campaign event on Thursday.

However, this claim was quickly met with skepticism from the Kremlin. Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin’s spokesman, responded to Trump’s remarks by clarifying that there have been no communications with the former U.S. president. “There aren’t any contacts with Donald Trump. Regarding [US-Russian] contacts on the matter of incarcerated and convicted individuals, we can say that these contacts must be carried out in total secrecy. This is the only way they can be effective,” Peskov stated, as reported by The Guardian.

The Biden administration has been actively attempting to secure Gershkovich’s release since his arrest in March of the previous year. Despite considering various strategies, including prisoner swaps, the U.S. has faced repeated rejections from the Russian government. This incident underscores the challenges that the U.S. faces in negotiating with Russia, especially concerning individuals accused of espionage. Notably, Paul Whelan, a U.S. Marine detained for five years on similar charges, has also been the subject of unsuccessful negotiations for a swap deal.

Trump’s relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin has been a contentious issue throughout his political career. His administration was frequently criticized for its perceived proximity to Putin, particularly after U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that Russia had interfered in the 2016 U.S. election to favor Trump—a claim Trump has vehemently denied, dismissing the extensive investigation as a “hoax.”

The former president’s latest statements on Gershkovich’s situation highlight his continued confidence in his personal influence over international affairs, including complex diplomatic negotiations. However, the Kremlin’s response suggests that Trump’s assertions may not align with the current reality of U.S.-Russian diplomatic communications. As the situation unfolds, it remains to be seen how these claims will impact Trump’s campaign and the ongoing efforts to secure the release of Americans detained in Russia.

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