U.S. President Joe Biden declines to comment after reporters question him about the criminal indictment of former President Donald Trump as Biden departs the White House on March 31, 2023 in Washington, DC. Biden and first lady Jill Biden are traveling to Rolling Fork, Mississippi, to tour the community that was devastated by a tornado last week. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
OAN Geraldyn Berry
UPDATED 3:45 PM – Friday, March 31, 2023
President Joe Biden has pleaded with Russia on Friday to free Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who was detained on espionage allegations. This is an accusation that the publication has strongly disputed.
Biden spoke to reporters at the White House who asked him to give a message to Russia.
“Let him go,” Biden told reports.
Gershkovich, an American citizen, was charged by Russia’s Federal Security Service with attempting to acquire sensitive information. Since the end of the Cold War, a journalist from the United States has never been arrested in Russia on suspicion of spying. According to The Journal, it “vehemently denies” the accusations.
Vice President Kamala Harris spoke at a press conference in Lusaka, Zambia, voicing that the government was “deeply concerned” about Gershkovich’s arrest.
“We will not tolerate — and condemn, in fact — repression of journalists,” Harris said.
On Thursday, the Biden administration stated that it was working to ensure that Gershkovich had entry to the American consulate. On Friday, when asked if he would expel Russian journalists or officials working in the United States, Biden had replied that “That’s not the plan right now.”
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre referred to the targeting of American citizens in Russia as “unacceptable” and stated that the government denounces the detention of Gershkovich “in the strongest terms” right away.
The Biden administration has issued a travel advisory for Americans, advising them to leave Russia promptly.