A senior Russian official has announced that a prisoner exchange for American journalist Evan Gershkovich, currently facing espionage charges in Russia, can be considered after a verdict from the Russian court system.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said in a statement that prisoner exchange negotiations related to the 31-year-old Wall Street Journal correspondent would take place via an already established channel used by Moscow and Washington to hold talks on similar matters in the past.

In a Journal report  Friday, Ryabkov indicated the possibility of a prisoner exchange in his interview with the TASS state news agency. Yet, this exchange would take place after the espionage charge against Gershkovich has been decided by Russian courts. 

The Russian diplomat stressed a point, saying that “the issue of exchanging anyone can be considered after the court issues its verdict specifically on a particular charge.”