Russian and U.S. officials have discussed a potential prisoner swap that could include detained Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said, though they “don’t want them to be discussed in public.” Peskov told reporters on a call Tuesday that talks “must be carried out and continue in complete silence.”
Russian officials have previously indicated their willingness to discuss swapping U.S.-held prisoners for Gershkovich. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said in April that such conversations could take place only after Gershkovich’s espionage trial ends. The Journal, Gershkovich and U.S. officials have denied the spying charges and demanded the reporter’s release.
Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe.
As war nears Crimea, Russian occupiers are trying to lure tourists: Tourism-dependent Crimea is looking ahead to a grim summer holiday season as the war grinds on, Francesca Ebel and Natalia Abbakumova report. Many visitors, concerned by recent attacks, are canceling their summer bookings to the Black Sea peninsula, which Russia illegally annexed from Ukraine in 2014. Crimea accounted for only 1 percent of Russian hotel bookings this year, according to the online booking portal Ostrovok.ru, down from 3 percent last year and 19 percent from the year before.
“There are indeed fewer people in Crimea than usual,” said Nikita Krimskiy, a tour guide in Yalta. “Many people were intimidated by military news and various ‘fakes.’ They have changed their plans and decided to not go to Crimea this season.” Some all-inclusive hotels have lowered their prices by as much as 60 percent. Others have simply decided not to open this summer. Sixty percent of Crimean tourism businesses lost money last year, official data shows, with combined losses of $10 million as tourist revenue dropped by about a third.
Emily Rauhala contributed to this report.