In an interview by conservative political commentator Tucker Carlson, Russian President Vladimir Putin insisted that Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich had engaged in espionage, but a deal could potentially be reached for his release.
The Jewish reporter has been detained in Russia since March.
The two-hour interview streamed via X on Feb. 8 has been criticized for giving Putin a platform where he dominated the conversation and spread propaganda, according to critics. Carlson, 54, was fired last year from Fox News, where he worked since 2016.
As far as Gershkovich goes, the Russian president stated that “there are certain terms being discussed via special services channels. I believe an agreement can be reached.”
He claimed that the 32-year-old reporter had been “caught red-handed” in the process of “secretly getting confidential information.”
The Russian government has not disclosed evidence of Gershkovich’s guilt. Gershkovich, his employer and the U.S. government insist on his innocence.
Carlson’s interview with Putin was the first by a Western journalist since the start of Russia’s war on Ukraine in February 2022.