The U.S. ambassador to Russia, Lynne M. Tracy, met with the detained Wall Street Journal correspondent Evan Gershkovich at Lefortovo Prison in Moscow on Monday, according to the State Department.
It was the first time since April 17 that an American diplomatic official had been able to meet with Mr. Gershkovich, who has been held for more than 13 weeks on what American officials have said are bogus allegations of espionage.
Ms. Tracy reported that Mr. Gershkovich was in “good health” and remained “strong, despite his circumstances.” Mr. Gershkovich, 31, has been held since late March at Lefortovo, a high-security jail known for difficult conditions for inmates, including extreme isolation.
The Russian government’s allegations against Mr. Gershkovich have been vehemently rejected by the United States government and The Journal. The State Department reiterated on Monday that Mr. Gershkovich had been “wrongfully detained” — meaning that the U.S. government considers him to be the equivalent of a political hostage.
American officials repeated their call for Russia to immediately release Mr. Gershkovich and Paul Whelan, 53, a former U.S. Marine that the U.S. government also considers wrongfully detained. He is serving a 16-year sentence after being convicted in 2020 of spying.
Based in Russia for almost six years, Mr. Gershkovich was first detained on March 29 during a reporting trip to the central Russian city of Yekaterinburg. Thursday would be his 100th day in detention.
If convicted on the espionage charges, for which Russian prosecutors have offered no evidence, Mr. Gershkovich could face 20 years in a penal colony.
In June, a Moscow court denied an appeal by the journalist’s lawyers to end his pretrial detention, which had been extended to Aug. 30. Mrs. Tracy attended that court session, along with Mr. Gershkovich’s parents, Ella Milman and Mikhail Gershkovich.