YEKATERINBURG, March 30. /TASS/. The Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich was interested in operation of military-industrial complex facilities in Yekaterinburg, Sverdlovsk Region Legislative Assembly deputy Vycheslav Vegner, whom the reporter interviewed earlier, told TASS Thursday.
"[During the interview, Gershkovich] started asking questions regarding the military-industrial complex of Yekaterinburg, he named one such enterprise - ‘Novator’- and so on," Vegner said.
According to the lawmaker, the reported cited the experience of other regions on industry conversion and asked about the Sverdlovsk Region experience - for example, whether the enterprises change their profile, how many shifts there are, and if they are appropriately staffed. Vegner noted during the interview that he is not authorized to answer such question.
Gershkovich also inquired about the lawmaker’s communication with Wagner PMC founder Yevgeny Prigozhin - to which Vegner answered that he is familiar with this issue, because he received applications from convicts who desire to volunteer.
About Gershkovich’s case
Earlier on Thursday, the FSB Public Relations Center told TASS that Evan Gershkovich, "acting at the behest of the American side, collected information constituting a state secret about the activities of an enterprise within Russia’s military-industrial complex." The reporter was detained in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg. The FSB investigators opened a criminal case against the US citizen under Article 276 of the Russian Criminal Code ("Espionage"). According to Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov, the reporter was detained in the act.
Moscow’s Lefortovsky District Court arrested the reporter until May 29. He will be detained in the Lefortovo detention facility.
In light of this, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) published a statement expressing deep concern for the safety of Gershkovich. According to the WSJ, Gershkovich covers Russia from his post at the newspaper’s Moscow bureau.