Russia arrests Wall Street Journal reporter on espionage charges

Russia arrests Wall Street Journal reporter on espionage charges
FSB-KGB Headquarters in Moscow. Credit: A.Savin / Creative Commons

The Russian Security Services (FSB) have arrested a correspondent of the American newspaper Wall Street Journal, Evan Gershkovich on charges of espionage, the intelligence agency announced on Thursday.

"The FSB foiled the illegal activity of the accredited correspondent...of the Moscow office of the American newspaper Wall Street Journal, the citizen of the United States, Evan Gershkovich," the Russian Federal Security Service said in a quoted statement by Russian agencies.

The journalist was detained near the Ural Mountains city of Ekaterinburg while allegedly trying to obtain classified information. The FSB did not say when the arrest took place.

The FSB sustains Gershkovich is "suspected of spying for the benefit of the United States" and of collecting information "on a Russian military-industrial complex company." If convicted of espionage, he could face up to 20 years in prison.

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Before joining the American daily in 2022, Gershkovich was a correspondent for AFP in Moscow, having also previously worked for the English-language newspaper The Moscow Times. Perfectly Russian-speaking, the 31-year-old journalist is of Russian origin and his parents are settled in the United States.

Gershkovich is an accredited reporter, approved by the Russian Foreign Ministry, and covered issues relating to Russia and Ukraine for the American newspaper.

The arrest of a foreign journalist on such a charge is unprecedented in recent Russian history. The last time a US-based reporter was detained by Russian authorities was during the Cold War.

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