Trump Vows to Free U.S. Reporter Jailed in Russia ‘Immediately’ After Election

Former President Donald Trump says he will secure the release of imprisoned Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich from Russia “almost immediately” after the election this November. Gershkovich, 32, has been detained in Russia since March 2023 on allegations of espionage, which he and the U.S. government have vehemently denied. So far, the Biden White House has failed to free him, but Trump predicted Thursday that he would accomplish what the current administration cannot.

“Evan Gershkovich, the Reporter from The Wall Street Journal, who is being held by Russia, will be released almost immediately after the Election, but definitely before I assume Office,” Trump wrote on his Truth Social page.

“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 did not clarify his plan to secure the release of the Wall Street Journal reporter but said he would have him home before even taking office. The former President has repeatedly pressured Biden to get Gershkovich home, as well as former marine Paul Whelan, who has been in Russian custody since 2018.

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Trump previously promised to bring Gershkovich home in an April interview with TIME. The former President told the magazine that Gershkovich should be released but doubted Biden’s ability to get the job done.

“The reporter should be released, and he will be released,” Trump said during the interview. “I don’t know if he’s going to be released under [President] Biden. I would get him released.”

Pressed by a reporter on why he had not previously spoken out on Gershkovich’s imprisonment, Trump replied that he had “probably… said very good things about him” but that “maybe it wasn’t reported.”

“I guess because I have so many other things I’m working on. I have hundreds of things,” Trump said. “I think he’s a very brave young man.”

Following Trump’s remarks this week, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that “Here, Putin has naturally not had contacts with Donald Trump” and requested silence on the issue of Gershkovich’s trial in Russia.

“Any contact regarding those imprisoned or convicted must be carried out in complete silence and in a discreet manner,” Peskov said. “That is the only way to make it productive.”

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The Biden administration has repeatedly tried and failed to secure the release of both Gershkovich and Whelan. It did, however, secure the release of imprisoned WNBA player Brittney Griner in December 2022, in exchange for convicted Russian Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, otherwise known as the “merchant of death.”

At the White House Correspondents’ Dinner last month, Biden again called on Russia to release Gershkovich “immediately.”

During his interview with TIME, Trump drew a contrast between himself and Biden. “Here’s the difference between me and Biden: I’ll get him released,” Trump said. “Putin’s going to release him,”

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