Pressed about the case by Mr. Carlson, Mr. Putin later added: “I also want him to return to his homeland at last. I’m absolutely sincere. But let me say once again, the dialogue continues.”
The Russian leader suggested that he wanted additional concessions from American officials before he would consider releasing Mr. Gershkovich. Mr. Putin suggested that he might be willing to trade the reporter for Vadim Krasikov, a Russian citizen sentenced to life in prison in Germany for the 2019 murder of a Chechen former separatist fighter in Berlin.
Mr. Gershkovich, 32, was the first American journalist to be arrested on a spying charge in Russia since the end of the Cold War, and the U.S. government has designated him as “wrongfully detained,” meaning he is essentially considered a political prisoner.
He was arrested in March in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg and accused of espionage, an allegation that The Journal and American authorities have strenuously denied. Since then, he has been held at the notorious Lefortovo Prison in Moscow pending a trial.
The Journal is owned by the family of Rupert Murdoch, who also controls Mr. Carlson’s former employer, Fox News. “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 newspaper said in a statement on Thursday after the broadcast of the Putin interview.