Russia Arrests Wall Street Journal Reporter Evan Gershkovich On Suspicion Of Spying

Russia Arrests Wall Street Journal Reporter Evan Gershkovich On Suspicion Of Spying

Russian authorities have detained an American reporter for the Wall Street Journal on espionage charges, Russia’s top security agency has said.

The Federal Security Service (FSB), the top KGB successor agency, said on Thursday that Evan Gershkovich was detained in the Ural Mountains city of Yekaterinburg while allegedly trying to obtain classified information.

It alleged that Gershkovich “was collecting classified information about the activities of one of the enterprises of the Russian military-industrial complex that constitutes a state secret”.

He was covering the war in Ukraine, developments in Russia, and the Wagner mercenary group.

The FSB did not say when the detention took place. Gershkovich could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted of espionage.

“The Wall Street Journal vehemently denies the allegations from the FSB, and seeks the immediate release of our trusted and unbiased reporter, Evan Gershkovich,” the paper said in a statement.

He is the first reporter for an American news outlet to be detained on spying charges in Russia since the Cold War and his arrest comes amid bitter global tensions over the fighting in Ukraine.

Gershkovich, who was properly accredited as a journalist, works for the Wall Street Journal’s Moscow bureau.

Media freedom groups and journalists raised the alarm.

“Shocked by the horrifying news of Russia’s absurd espionage charges against @evangershkovich, an excellent reporter and friend,” Max Seddon, Moscow Bureau chief at the Financial Times, wrote on Twitter.

Francesca Ebel, Washington’s Post Russia correspondent, said, the allegations against Gershkovich were “absurd.”

“Evan is an excellent thoughtful journalist who cares deeply about his work,” Ebel added on Twitter.

Leonid ХВ Ragozin, a Russian freelance journalist, said: “The Kremlin has taken him, hostage.”

Reporters Without Borders expressed serious concern, saying it was alarmed by “what looks like retaliation”.

Gershkovich’s last report, published this week, focused on the Russian economy’s slowdown amid Western sanctions.

Before joining The Wall Street Journal, 31-year-old Gershkovich worked for AFP in Moscow. He was previously a reporter for The Moscow Times.

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