Deal To Release US Journalist Possible, Putin Tells Carlson

Russian President Vladimir Putin told journalist Tucker Carlson during an interview this week that it’s possible that U.S. journalist Evan Gershkovich could be released from prison “if our partners take reciprocal steps.”

This week, Carlson — the former Fox News anchor who is launching his own media company — sat down for a long one-on-one interview with Putin.

The two discussed many topics, and it wasn’t until the very end of the interview that Gershkovich was discussed.

Russian authorities arrested Gershkovich, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, on March 29, 2023, while he was reporting on the war in Ukraine. He was charged with working as a spy for the U.S.

He’s been held in jail since then and recently had his detainment extended for a second time as he awaits trial, the latest time through the end of March.

The last question that Carlson asked Putin was whether he’d be willing to release Gershkovich back to the United States.

Putin’s initial response didn’t sound too promising.

“We have done so many gestures of goodwill out of decency that I think we have run out of them,” he said.

He may have been making a veiled reference to the prisoner swap agreement struck in December 2022, where Russia released women’s basketball star Brittney Griner in exchange for the release of Viktor Bout.

Griner was arrested for illegally possessing marijuana in Russia, while Bout was arrested for being an arms dealer.

Putin then seemed to soften his stance a bit as he continued to talk.

“In theory, we can say that we do not rule out that we can do that (prisoner swap) if our partners take reciprocal steps,” Putin said. “There is no taboo to settle this issue. We are willing to solve it, but there are certain terms being discussed via special services channels.”