MOSCOW, July 4. /TASS/. The right to consular access must be provided by both Russia and the United States, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists on Tuesday.
"Regarding the legitimate right to exercise consular contacts, this right must certainly be provided for by both sides," Peskov said commenting on US Ambassador Lynne Tracy visiting Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who is currently in custody in Russia, and on Russian diplomats’ visiting Vladimir Dunayev, who has been extradited to the United States.
Asked about a possible dialogue between Moscow and Washington on the exchange of prisoners, Peskov replied that there is already "certain contact" between the countries.
"We have already stated that there are certain contacts in progress regarding this issue, but we do not want to make them public. They must be followed and maintained in complete silence," Peskov said.
The US Embassy in Moscow told TASS on Monday that Ambassador Lynne Tracy visited Gershkovich earlier that day.
According to the Public Relations Center of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), Evan Gershkovich, "acting at the behest of the American side, collected information constituting a state secret about the activities of an enterprise within Russia’s military-industrial complex."
The reporter was detained in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg. FSB investigators opened a criminal case against the US citizen under Article 276 of the Russian Criminal Code (RCC) ("Espionage"). At that time, Peskov said that the journalist had been "caught red-handed." On March 30, Moscow’s Lefortovo District Court ordered that Gershkovich be held in custody until May 29. On May 23, his detention was extended for three more months.
Russian national Vladimir Dunayev was extradited from South Korea to the United States in 2021 after he was allegedly caught committing cyber crimes.