Trump: Elect Me, Putin Will Give Me Gershkovich

Kremlin denies any discussions with Trump on the matter
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 24, 2024 10:51 AM CDT
Trump: Putin Will Release Gershkovich 'for Me' Only
President Donald Trump meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 7, 2017.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

Elect Donald Trump and you'll see Evan Gershkovich, the US journalist jailed in Moscow, walk free, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee claimed Thursday. Trump said he need only ask Russian President Vladimir Putin to release Gershkovich and he will—in exchange for nothing. "Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, will do that for me, but not for anyone else, and WE WILL BE PAYING NOTHING!" Trump wrote in a post on Truth Social, per the Wall Street Journal. He said Gershkovich would be released after Trump is elected to a second term "but definitely before I assume office." It's unclear why Trump believes Putin will do as he says. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov notes "there is no contact between Putin and Trump on this matter."

The Biden campaign said the president continues to fight to bring home the 32-year-old journalist, whom the US considers wrongfully held on an allegation of espionage. Rep TJ Ducklo also hit at Trump, claiming he's "called journalists 'enemies of the people' and pledged to imprison reporters whose coverage he doesn't like—not all that dissimilar to what's happening right now to Evan Gershkovich in Russia," per the Guardian. Peskov again called for silence on the issue as discussions are restricted to a confidential channel between Moscow and Washington. "Any contact regarding those imprisoned or convicted must be carried out in complete silence and in a discreet manner," he said, per the Journal. "That is the only way to make it productive."

The Biden administration is reportedly preparing another proposal for Gershkovich's release after Russia rejected one tied to the release of Paul Whelan, another US citizen considered wrongfully held in Russia on espionage claims, in December. "Their release remains an urgent priority," Ducklo said. (More Evan Gershkovich stories.)

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