Evan Gershkovich: A jailed reporter is met by the US ambassador in Russia

Evan Gershkovich

For the second time since his detention, the American journalist Evan Gershkovich was able to meet with the US ambassador to Russia.

The Wall Street Journal reporter is in good health and is still strong, according to Ambassador Lynne Tracy.

He was taken into custody on March 29 on espionage charges, making him the first foreign journalist taken into custody in Russia since the Soviet era.

The allegations are refuted by the US, the Wall Street Journal, and Mr. Gershkovich.

Since the ambassador's first encounter with the reporter in April, Russia has ignored US requests for additional visits.

A State Department spokesperson said after the visit on Monday that Ambassador Tracy had "reported that Mr. Gershkovich is in good health and remains strong, despite his circumstances.".

The former KGB prison in Moscow, Lefortovo, is where the 31-year-old is being detained.

The visit comes after a Moscow court on June 22 rejected an appeal to release Mr. Gershkovich, a decision the US called extremely disappointing at the time.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken had been pressuring Russia to allow consular access up until the meeting on Monday.

This had been a point of contention between the two nations, with the US accusing Russia of disobeying international law by denying diplomatic access to Americans who were being held.

The US's refusal to grant visas to a group of Russian journalists sent to cover Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov's visit to the UN Security Council in New York, Russia had previously stated, was a factor in their decision.

The decision to refuse the visas was referred to as "sabotage" by the Russian foreign ministry.

According to Mr. Lavrov, Russia would not forget or forgive the choice.

The US has been pushing for the release of Paul Whelan, a former US Marine who has been imprisoned for more than four years, along with Mr. Gershkovich.

Mr. Whelan is in Mordovia, a region far to the southeast of Moscow noted for its harsh prison camps.

The State Department issued a statement in which it stated that "both men deserve to go home to their families now.".

Basketball player Brittney Griner was released from prison in December after serving a 10-month sentence after the US arranged a prisoner swap that also saw the release of Russian Viktor Bout, who had been detained in the US for weapons smuggling.

The US is looking into ways to repatriate "many other Americans who are being detained in different parts of the world in an arbitrary fashion," according to Mr. Blinken.

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