Evan Gershkovich, an American journalist working for the Wall Street Journal, has been arrested in Russia and charged with espionage. The arrest took place in Yekaterinburg, where Gershkovich was working at the time.
The Wall Street Journal has expressed deep concern for Gershkovich's safety and has denied the allegations against him. The Kremlin has claimed that Gershkovich was caught in the act of spying.
According to Russia's FSB security service, Gershkovich was involved in illegal activities and collected state secrets on behalf of the US government. The security service claimed that he was acting on US instructions.
Gershkovich was taken to a Moscow court for his formal arrest and was detained until May 29. His lawyer was not allowed into the courtroom and the journalist reportedly denied the charges.
Who is Evan Gershkovich?
Evan Gershkovich, is a 31-year-old reporter covering Russia, Ukraine, and the former Soviet Union. He was previously a reporter for Agence France-Presse and the Moscow Times and a news assistant for the New York Times.
Gershkovich, who is fluent in Russian, has been working as a reporter for WSJ's Moscow bureau since 2017.
He previously worked for Agence France-Presse and The Moscow Times. Gershkovich's parents are originally from the Soviet Union but currently reside in the United States.
He graduated from Bowdoin College in Maine and has also worked as a news assistant for The New York Times.
Gershkovich's most recent report for WSJ, published last week, focused on the impact of Western sanctions on the Russian economy.
Russia’s allegations against the WSJ reporter
According to Reuters, Russia's main security agency, the Federal Security Service (FSB), has detained Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich on suspicion of espionage. The FSB accused Gershkovich of collecting information about a military factory that is considered a state secret.
The agency claimed it was acting on the orders of the United States government. Gershkovich had accreditation from the Russian Foreign Ministry to work as a journalist.
The Kremlin has stated that Gershkovich was caught in the act and warned the US against retaliatory actions against the Russian media.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said foreign journalists have used their press status to cover up non-journalistic activities in Russia before.
CPJ condemns arrest of Wall Street Journal reporter
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has condemned the arrest of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich by Russian authorities on suspicion of espionage.
CPJ President Jodie Ginsberg called for Gershkovich's immediate release and criticized Russia's use of national security laws to silence information.
During his time at the Journal, Gershkovich has covered a variety of Russia-related topics, including Chinese leader Xi Jinping's recent visit to Moscow, President Putin's associates, and tensions between the Kremlin and Yevgeny Prigozhin, the founder of a group Russian paramilitary.
Despite the fact that some news organizations withdrew their correspondents from Russia early in the war, some have restored their Russia-based reporters, and the Russian Foreign Ministry has continued to accredit some foreign journalists.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has stated that journalists carrying out normal journalistic activities with valid accreditation will continue to work.
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