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Putin says he hopes for prisoner swap for Gershkovich, Whelan but talks are 'not simple'

Putin said Russia had ongoing contacts with the United States over the issue.
Last Updated : 15 June 2024, 14:00 IST

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Moscow: Russian President Vladimir Putin, asked on Thursday about a possible prisoner swap for the Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich and US Marine veteran Paul Whelan, said that he hoped an agreement would be reached, but that the US had to listen to Russia's conditions.

Asked about the two men's cases by a New York Times reporter at his annual press conference, Putin said: "We want to reach an agreement, and these agreements must be mutually acceptable and must suit both parties."

He said Russia had ongoing contacts with the United States over the issue.

"It is not simple, I will not go into details now, but in general, it seems to me that we speak a language that is understandable to each other. I hope we will find a solution. But, I repeat, the American side must hear us and make an appropriate decision... one that suits the Russian side."

Russia arrested Moscow correspondent Gershkovich on charges of spying in March. Gershkovich, the Wall Street Journal, and the White House have all denied that he is a spy, or works for the US government.

Marine veteran Paul Whelan was arrested in 2018, convicted of spying for the US in 2020 and sentenced to 16 years in prison. Whelan and the US government both deny the charges.

The US government considers both men to be wrongfully detained. The State Department said on Dec. 5 that Russia had in recent weeks rejected a substantial new proposal for their release.

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Published 15 June 2024, 14:00 IST

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