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U.S. Reporter Gershkovich Marks 100 Days in Russian Detention

Yaroslav Chingaev / Moskva News Agency

Jailed U.S. journalist Evan Gershkovich has spent 100 days in detention on charges of espionage that he and his employer, The Wall Street Journal, strongly deny.

Newsrooms around the world, including The Moscow Times, made shows of support for Gershkovich to mark 100 days since his arrest.

Gershkovich, 31, was detained by the Federal Security Service (FSB) on March 29 during a reporting trip in the Urals. 

He has since been held at Moscow's Lefortovo Prison, a facility notorious for placing inmates in near-total isolation.

If convicted of espionage, he faces up to 20 years in prison.

Some experts have suggested that The Wall Street Journal reporter was arrested in order for Moscow to have leverage in a future prisoner exchange with Washington.

The Kremlin said Tuesday there were "certain contacts" with the U.S. over Gershkovich, responding to a question about a possible prisoner exchange.

U.S. Ambassador Lynne Tracy was allowed to visit Gershkovich in prison on Monday after a gap in visits of more than two months.

Russian state media reported that Russian consular officials were also on Monday given access to Vladimir Dunaev, an alleged cybercriminal extradited from South Korea who is currently in detention in the United States.

Peskov was asked if the coincidence of these visits indicated a possible exchange.

"There are certain contacts on this matter but we do not want them made public at all. They should take place and continue in total silence," Peskov said, without giving further details.

Following her visit with Gershkovich on Monday, U.S. Ambassador Tracy reported that he "is in good health and remains strong, despite his circumstances," a State Department spokesperson said.

A Moscow court on June 22 rejected an appeal to free Gershkovich from pre-trial detention, which was previously extended through August. 

Gershkovich, who previously worked for AFP and The Moscow Times, is the first Western journalist arrested and accused of espionage by Moscow since the Soviet era.

AFP contributed reporting.

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