Evan Gershkovich, WSJ journalist arrested in Russia, charged with espionage

Investigators of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) have brought charges of espionage against journalist for The Wall Street Journal Evan Gershkovich, Russia’s news agencies Interfax and TASS report, citing sources.

“The FSB investigators have brought charges of espionage in favour of his own country against Gershkovich. He categorically denied all the accusations and said that he was carrying out journalistic work in Russia,” TASS’ source said.

It was previously claimed by the FSB that Gershkovich “was ordered by the US to collect information about a Russian defence industry facility which is classified as a state secret”.

On 29 March, the FSB arrested Gershkovich on suspicion of espionage in Yekaterinburg. He was then brought to Moscow and placed in a pre-trial detention centre.

It is said that Gershkovich was collecting opinions of Russians regarding the infamous mercenary Wagner Group. Russia’s law enforcement, however, filed criminal charges against Gershkovich for “espionage”, accusing him of travelling to the city of Nizhny Tagil where the Uralvagonzavod defence industry facility is located.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, during a conversation with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, urged for immediate release of the journalist. US President Joe Biden also called upon the Russian government to set Gershkovich free.

WSJ previously called for the Russian ambassador and all Russian journalists to be expelled from the US in response to Gershkovich being arrested.

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