Evan Gershkovich’s parents to attend State of the Union as Speaker Johnson’s guests

House Speaker Mike Johnson will host the parents of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich – who has been wrongfully imprisoned in Russia for nearly a year – at President Biden’s State of the Union address on Thursday.

In a statement to Fox News Digital, Johnson’s office confirmed that Ella Milman and Mikhail Gershkovich would be the speaker’s special guests.

‘I’m honored to host Ella Milman and Mikhail Gershkovich for the State of the Union address,’ Johnson said in a statement.

By hosting Evan’s parents, Congress will shine a spotlight on the unjust detention of their son,’ he said.

The Republican speaker of the House said that the Biden administration ‘must bring Evan home.’

‘The United States must always stand for freedom of the press around the world, especially in places like Russia, where it is under assault,’ Johnson said. ‘The Administration must bring Evan home.’

Gershkovich’s parents have previously pleaded with the Biden administration to bring their son home.

‘We had President Biden’s promise to do whatever it takes, to bring Evan back. He also told us that he relates to us as a parent, he feels our pain, and his words are in my ears every single day. But it’s been 250 days and Evan is not here,’ his mother, Ella Milman, told Steve Doocy on ‘FOX & Friends’ in December 2023.

‘The efforts to do whatever it takes hasn’t been done,’ Milman said. 

March 29 is the one-year anniversary of Gershkovich’s arrest by Russian authorities on charges of espionage.

Gershkovich was detained March 29, 2023, during a reporting trip in Yekaterinburg, the fourth-largest city in Russia, and accused of being a spy. 

The U.S. has long asserted that Russia’s allegation is ridiculous, as have his colleagues, who describe the American-born son of Soviet immigrants as a diligent reporter who is being used as a political pawn due to his high profile.

The Wall Street Journal and the U.S. government vehemently denied the espionage allegations against Gershkovich and have called for his immediate release. 

His arrest was seen as a brazen violation of press freedom that not only poses widespread consequences for journalism and the media, but for governments and democracies everywhere, and part of a wider journalism crackdown by the autocratic Russian Federation.

‘He is definitely not a spy. That is an outrage. He is a reporter, he was there doing his job,’ Wall Street Journal editor-in-chief Emma Tucker said.

Fox News’ Brian Flood contributed to this report.

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