Russian Official Says U.S. Is Hampering a Prisoner Exchange with Unequal Demands

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich stands in a glass cage in a courtroom at the Moscow City Court, in Moscow, Russia, on Thursday, Dec. 14, 2023. Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gerhskovich, arrested in Russia on espionage charges, will remain in detention until Jan. 30, a court in Moscow ruled on Thursday. The hearing took place behind closed doors because authorities say details of the criminal case against the American journalist are classified. (AP Photo/Dmitry Serebryakov)

A Russian deputy foreign minister said that talks with the United States on a potential prisoner exchange that would free Americans held in Russia are hampered by publicity and an alleged disparity in the U.S. negotiating stance.

The U.S. State Department said last week that Russia rejected several proposals for freeing Paul Whelan, an American convicted of espionage, and Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who was detained in March and is facing espionage charges.

“Here, as in many other areas, we observe the American traditional desire to get more for ourselves and give the minimum, as they say,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said in an interview with the Interfax news agency that was published Friday.

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