Russia detains Wall Street Journal reporter for 'spying'
Russian security services have accused US reporter Evan Gershkovich of gathering intelligence on its military. They have provided no evidence for their claim.
Russia's FSB security agency said on Thursday that it had arrested Wall Street Journal Moscow correspondent Evan Gershkovich, state media reported.
In a statement quoted by Interfax news service, the FSB said that it had "stopped the illegal activities of US citizen Gershkovich Evan, born in 1991... who is suspected of spying in the interests of the American government."
The security service accused him of gathering information on "the activities of one of the enterprises of the military-defense complex" in Russia "for the American side."
"The Wall Street Journal is deeply concerned for the safety of Mr. Gershkovich," the newspaper said in a statement reacting to his detention.
Journalist was covering Russian discontent
Gershkovich, who has also worked for several other international media outlets in the past, has long covered Russia and Ukraine. His most recent series of articles for the Journal cover the economic distress of ordinary Russians as a result of the invasion of Ukraine, as well as highlighting the voices of disillusioned Russian soldiers and the clampdown against the anti-war movement across the country.
Gershkovich was detained in the city of Yekaterinburg in the Ural mountains. FSB has offered no evidence for its claims.
Russia has tightened censorship laws since its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, in what Moscow refers to as a "special military operation."
Andrei Soldatov, who writes about Russia's security agencies from outside the country, said on social media: "Evan Gershkovich is a very good and brave journalist, not a spy, for Christ's sake. [His detention] is a frontal attack on all foreign correspondents who still work in Russia. And it means that the FSB is off the leash."
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