Russia’s Foreign Ministry said Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken it was unacceptable for Washington to politicize the case of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who has been detained and accused of spying in Russia.
The U.S. State Department said Blinken called for the immediate release of Gershkovich during a telephone call with Lavrov.
The Wall Street Journal on Saturday demanded the immediate release of Gershkovich, calling his arrest “a vicious affront to a free press.”
U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner, who was freed from a Russian penal colony in a prisoner exchange last year, has urged the Biden administration to keep using “every tool possible” to win the release of Gershkovich.
Ukraine furiously criticized Russia’s taking charge of the U.N. Security Council with President Vladimir Putin accused of war crimes. His Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, called the move “absurd and destructive”.
Six civilians were killed and eight wounded in Russian shelling of Kostiantynivka in eastern Ukraine on Sunday morning, a senior Ukrainian official said. Kostiantynivka, home to about 70,000 people before the war, is just 20 km (12.5 miles) west of Bakhmut, the epicenter of fighting for at least eight months as Russian forces try to capture the city. Reuters could not independently verify the number of casualties.
Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu promised to boost munitions supplies to Russian forces in Ukraine during a visit to the headquarters of Moscow’s troops fighting in the country, according to footage published by the Defence Ministry on Saturday.
The war has claimed the lives of 262 Ukrainian athletes and destroyed 363 sports facilities, Ukraine’s sports minister, Vadym Huttsait, said on Saturday. He said no athletes from Russia should be allowed at the Olympics or other sports competitions.
The International Olympic Committee criticized Ukraine’s decision not to allow Ukrainian athletes to take part in qualifying events for the 2024 Paris Olympics if they have to compete against Russians, saying on Saturday this will hurt only Ukrainian sport and its athletes.
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