MOSCOW, March 30. /TASS/. The Federal Security Service (FSB) has detained on espionage charges US national Evan Gershkovich, a journalist employed by the Moscow bureau of leading US newspaper The Wall Street Journal, the FSB's Public Relations Center told TASS on Thursday.
The journalist was detained while trying to obtain classified information. According to the FSB, Gershkovich was collecting data about an enterprise within Russia’s military-industrial complex. The Wall Street Journal denied the accusations against its employee and demanded his release.
TASS has assembled the basic facts that we now know about the journalist’s detention.
- US citizen Evan Gershkovich, a correspondent for the Moscow bureau of The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), was detained in Yekaterinburg, Sverdlovsk Region, in the Urals region of Russia, on suspicion of espionage.
- According to the FSB, the journalist was collecting top-secret data about an enterprise within the Russian military-industrial complex in the interests of the United States.
- The American was detained while trying to obtain classified data.
- A criminal case was opened against Gershkovich under Article 276 of the Russian Criminal Code ("Espionage").
- The journalist was caught red-handed, Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. At the same time, he said that there are no obstacles to the continued work of the WSJ’s staff in Russia who are engaged in "regular journalistic work." Peskov also expressed the hope that there would be no closures of Russian news bureaus in the United States.
- Peskov added that the Kremlin monitors foreign media and is familiar with the reports filed by the detained American.
- Gershkovich's activities are not journalism-related, said Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova. According to her, this is not the first case where the status of foreign correspondent, including a journalist visa and official accreditation, has been used as a cover.
The WSJ’s reaction
- The Wall Street Journal published a statement on its website saying it is "deeply concerned for the safety of Mr. Gershkovich."
- "The Wall Street Journal vehemently denies the allegations by the FSB and seeks the immediate release" of Evan Gershkovich, the newspaper said.