US “deeply disappointed” after Russia denies request to visit jailed reporter

29 April, 2023 | Pragati Singh

Russia Top News

US is deeply disappointed after Russian officials denied a request to allow a diplomat to see imprisoned Wall Street Journal reporter State DepartmeEvan Gershkovich.

The US State Department’s deputy spokesperson, Vedant Patel, told reporters on Friday that the US is deeply disappointed after Russian officials denied a request to allow a diplomat to see imprisoned Wall Street Journal reporter State DepartmeEvan Gershkovich.

Addressing the presser, Patel said, “Let me take a little bit of a step back. I think first and foremost as it relates to Evan’s case, we of course were deeply disappointed that the request to visit Evan in early May, on May 11th for a consular visit, was denied.” “We have been clear and consistent that our personnel allotted american nationals detained abroad, especially those American citizens who are wrongfully detained like Evan appropriate and regular consular access,” he added.

Whelan, a former Marine and US citizen, was arrested in a Moscow hotel in December 2018 on espionage charges that he has consistently and vehemently denied. Russia denied the US embassy’s request to see a jailed Wall Street Journal reporter on Thursday.

According to the New York Post, Moscow’s Foreign Ministry rejected the requested May 11 consular visit after Washington refused to grant visas to a group of Russian journalists. The ministry had previously summoned a senior US diplomat to protest the denial of entry visas to reporters who were supposed to accompany Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to the UN this week.

“And so we’re going to continue to insist that. We also are going to continue to call for Evan’s release and the release of Paul Whelan. This is something that we have raised with the Russians directly, the Secretary has raised with his counterpart directly, and so we’ll continue to be engaged on this,” Patel said during the daily press briefing.

Replying to a media query about the sanctions, which the Biden administration announced to impose restrictions on Russia and Iran on holding Americans hostage, Patel said, “We are not going to preview sanctions or actions from here. But we have a number of tools in our tool belt to continue to hold not just the Russian Federation accountable but also hold those who perpetrate arbitrary and wrongful detention of American citizens as well, and we’ll continue to pursue those lines of efforts as well.”

Earlier on Thursday, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the Biden-Harris administration announced sanctions against actors involved in hostage-taking or wrongful detentions in Russia and Iran, as well as those who provide them with material support.

“In doing so, the administration is, for the first time, deploying a new tool that was established under executive order by President Biden to impose severe economic costs on governments and groups that hold hostage or wrongfully detain Americans around the world,” Pierre said.

“Today’s sanctions afford the administration additional leverage to support negotiations and impose additional costs on those who are responsible for unjustly holding Americans against their will,” she added.

Pierre stated that this is “just one of a series of actions,” both public and private, that the Biden-Harris administration has taken to deter and disrupt hostage-taking and wrongful detentions, as well as to assist in the return of Americans.