Russian President Vladimir Putin floated a potential prisoner swap when asked about releasing Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who has been wrongfully detained in Russia for nearly a year.
Gershkovich was arrested last March as Russian authorities leveled dubious espionage charges against him. Both the State Department and The Wall Street Journal categorically denied those allegations.
He has been kept in Moscow for over 300 days.
In an interview published Thursday with commentator Tucker Carlson, Putin suggested that Gershkovich could be released through a prisoner exchange and that discussions between the U.S. and Russia are underway.
“There is no taboo to settle this issue. We’re willing to solve it,” Putin said. “But there are certain terms being discussed via special services channels. I believe an agreement can be reached.”
The Wall Street Journal issued a statement to Fox News saying, “We’re encouraged to see Russia’s desire for a deal that brings Evan home, and we hope this will lead to his rapid release and return to his family and our newsroom.”
The State Department did not comment on Putin’s remarks but reiterated that Gershkovich should be released immediately.
Gershkovich, the 32-year-old son of Soviet immigrants, was arrested March 29 while reporting in Yekaterinburg, the fourth-largest city in Russia, and was accused of being a spy, which the U.S. government has forcefully denied.
He has been denied all his appeals and faces a likely conviction.
Gershkovich has since been held in the notorious Lefortovo prison in Moscow for nearly a year, spending roughly 90% of his day in a small cell, according to the WSJ.
“He’s doing the best he can under the circumstances, and the circumstances are very hard,” his mother Ella Milman said last month, adding that Lefortovo prison is “basically designed to isolate you and break you down.”
“He doesn’t see daylight, it’s hard,” his mother continued. “But he’s fighting, he’s answering letters, we get a letter from him every week… he gets to read and he requests literature that he wants to read, he keeps his spirits up and his letter are humorous, make me laugh. He tries hard, I think, for us. We are worried about him, he is worried about us.”
U.S. Ambassador to Russia Lynne Tracy has visited Gershkovich in prison and kept his family updated on his condition. His friends have also told Fox News Digital he’s kept his sense of humor and tried to stay upbeat while languishing in custody.