Russian Regime Arrests American Journalist on Spying Charges

( – The Russian security service arrested a Wall Street Journal American journalist on spying charges on Thursday, representing the first time since the Cold War that an American correspondent has been detained on espionage accusations in the Eurasian nation.

At a hearing in Moscow, the Russian court ruled that journalist Evan Gershkovich would be kept in prison pending the investigation. After the hearing, Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) said it detained him in Yekaterinburg while he was allegedly trying to get classified information. The service, which is currently the most important security agency of Russia and the direct successor of the famous KGB, pointed out that the American journalist was acting on behalf of “the American side” in order to steal information that can be considered “state secret.” It added the information he was trying to send to the United States was about the numerous activities of a Russian military-industrial complex enterprise.

The Wall Street Journal reporter is the first US journalist that Russians arrest in the Eurasian nation on espionage charges since 1968 when the KGB arrested a Moscow correspondent for US News and Report named Nicholas Daniloff. He was eventually released in exchange for a Soviet Union employee at the United Nations, who the FBI arrested also on espionage charges.

In Washington, White House’s press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that the Biden administration has already spoken with Gershkovich’s family and with The Wall Street Journal, adding that President Biden condemns the arrest and urged every US citizen around the world not to travel to Russia. Finally, Jean-Pierre told reporters that the US State Department was in direct contact with the Kremlin in order to seek access for the journalist.

The Wall Street Journal denied the FSB’s allegations and demanded Gershkovich’s immediate release. It also said it was standing in solidarity with the journalist and his family.

If convicted of espionage, he could face up to 20 years in prison.

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