Vladimir Putin Says Russia Has ‘Run Out’ of ‘Decency,’ and It’s on the US to Take ‘Reciprocal Steps’ to Free Evan Gershkovich

“I do not rule out that [he] may return to his motherland” the Russian president told Tucker Carlson

Vladimir Putin, Evan Gershkovich
Vladimir Putin, Evan Gershkovich (CREDIT: Getty Images)

Speaking to Tucker Carlson, Russian president Vladimir Putin essentially blamed America for the continued imprisonment of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich.

“I do not rule out that the person you refer to, Gershkovich, may return to his motherland,” said Putin at the end of the two-hour video, which was released on Thursday. “But at the end of the day, it does not make any sense to keep him in prison in Russia. We want the US Special Services to think about how they can contribute to achieving the goals or special services they’re pursuing. We’re ready to talk. Moreover, the talks are underway.”

Putin put the onus for releasing the journalist, who has been held in Russia for nearly a year on false charges of espionage, on the United States. “We have done so many gestures of goodwill, out of decency that I think we have run out of them. You haven’t yet. No, we have never seen anyone that reciprocate to us in a similar manner. For money however, in theory, we can say that we do not rule out that we can do that we share testimonials from looking for partners take reciprocal steps to reach them.”

Carlson tried to make the case that Gershkovich is simply a reporter who was reporting on the Ukraine war and not a spy, but Putin was not dissuaded.

“What makes this different is the guy’s obviously not — and maybe he was breaking your law in some way — but he’s not a super spy and everybody knows that….Maybe it’s not fair to ask for, you know somebody else in exchange for letting him out. Maybe it degrades Russia to do that?” asked the former Fox News anchor.

Putin responded, “You can give a different interpretation as to what constitutes a spy. If a person gets secret information and does that in a conspiratorial manner, then this is qualified as espionage. And that is exactly what he was doing. He was receiving classified confidential information, and he did it covertly.”

The Russian leader said there is “an ongoing dialogue” about releasing the journalist, adding, “This has to be resolved in a calm, responsible and professional manner.”

“At the end of the day, it does not make any sense to keep him in prison in Russia,” said Putin. “We want the US Special Services to think about how they can contribute to achieving the goals they’re pursuing.We’re ready to talk. Moreover, the talks are underway.”

Putin assured Carlson that he is “absolutely sincere” in wanting to free Gershkovich.

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