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Evan Gershkovich's mother says he's keeping 'spirits up' in Russian prison designed to 'break you down'


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The mother of detained Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich said Wednesday that her son is doing his best to keep his "spirits up" in a Russian prison designed to "break you down." 

Ella Milman, speaking in Davos, Switzerland, said the circumstances for her 32-year-old son are "very hard" at Lefortovo Prison in Moscow, which she described as a "Stalin-era" facility. 

"We are worried about him, he is worried about us," Milman said. 

Gershkovich has been considered wrongfully detained by the United States since late March 2023, when he was first arrested while reporting in Yekaterinburg, the fourth-largest city in Russia, and accused of espionage. He has captured international attention and become a symbol of the dangers of journalism in an authoritarian nation. 

REPORTER EVAN GERSHKOVICH’S IMPRISONMENT IN RUSSIA A ‘BODY BLOW’ AS WALL STREET JOURNAL, US WORK TO FREE HIM 

"It’s basically designed to isolate you and to break you down. You know, doesn’t see daylight. It’s hard. But he is fighting, he is answering letters," Milman said about the prison. "We get a letter from him every week. His Russian lawyers see him on a regular basis. [U.S.] Ambassador Lynne Tracy visits him once a month." 

"He gets to read, he requests literature that he wants to read. He keeps his spirits up and his letters are humorous, makes me laugh," she added. 

The Biden administration and The Wall Street Journal have called the spying charges against Gershkovich absurd and demanded his release while working behind the scenes to bring him home. 

WHITE HOUSE SAYS IT IS WORKING TO BRING GERSHKOVICH HOME 

"We need to advocate for Evan. We are trying to do our best. But it definitely takes [its] toll... next week Evan is going to be in court, it’s hard to watch. We feel for all the families in our situation," Milman said during an interview with The Wall Street Journal. 

Gershkovich is currently being held in pre-trial detention through at least Jan. 30, according to the newspaper. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed Gershkovich, who turned 32 while in custody in October, and fellow imprisoned American Paul Whelan during his annual press conference last December and signaled a deal for their release was possible. 

"You say, why don't they return to their homeland? Then shouldn't they not commit crimes on the territory of the Russian Federation?" Putin said. "But this is all rhetoric. It's not that we would refuse to return them. We didn't refuse. We want to reach an agreement, and these agreements must be mutually acceptable and suit both parties." 

Fox News’ David Rutz contributed to this report. 

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