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    Journalist’s Release Being Negotiated by US Through Exchange of Russians Detained in Foreign Countries

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    The United States is trying to free American citizens, including Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich and former marine Paul Whelan, who are being held in Russia. They are exploring the possibility of a prisoner swap with Russia, and are looking for Russian prisoners held in other countries to use as leverage. The US State Department said that they are engaging with partners around the world to discuss wrongful detention cases and seek assistance in effecting a release.

    Russia is also demanding a balanced exchange of prisoners which makes it difficult for the US to offer concessions to force a release. Moscow has shown interest in negotiating the repatriation of Vadim Krasikov, a Russian citizen who is currently serving a life sentence in Germany for murdering a former Chechen rebel leader in Berlin under the orders of the Russian government.

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    Gershkovich was charged with obtaining state secret information about a military factory while on assignment in Yekaterinburg in late March. Whelan was unjustly imprisoned on espionage charges and serving a 16-year sentence. The US State Department did not provide specific details about the negotiation process, but said that they are open to exploring different types of leverage within the bounds of the rule of law and presidential approval policy.

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