- Russia’s FSB security service detains Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich on suspicion of espionage, accusing him of gathering classified information about a military factory.
- International journalism community expresses support for Gershkovich, emphasizing his professionalism and asserting that he is not a spy.
- Gershkovich’s detention marks a significant escalation in the crackdown on foreign journalists since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Yekaterinburg, Russia (MandyNews.com) — Russia’s FSB security service announced on Thursday the detention of Evan Gershkovich, a Wall Street Journal reporter and US national, on suspicion of espionage, reports Reuters.
This marks a significant escalation in the crackdown on foreign journalists since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year.
The FSB’s statement alleges that Gershkovich was involved in gathering classified information about a military factory on behalf of the United States. While the statement did not disclose the factory’s name or location, it indicated that Gershkovich was apprehended in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg while attempting to acquire the secret information.
The FSB provided no evidence to support the espionage claims against Gershkovich, who has been reporting from Russia since 2017. Before joining the Wall Street Journal, Gershkovich worked for The Moscow Times and France’s Agence-France Presse news agency. In recent months, his reporting has primarily focused on Russian politics and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
The Russian government has implemented stricter censorship laws following the deployment of tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine on February 24 last year, which Moscow refers to as a “special military operation.”
The Wall Street Journal and the US Embassy in Moscow have yet to comment on the situation. A US diplomatic source revealed that the embassy had not been informed of the incident and is actively seeking information from Russian authorities regarding the case.
Members of the international journalism community have expressed their support for Gershkovich on social media, emphasizing his professionalism and asserting that he is not a spy.
Andrei Soldatov, an expert on Russia’s security agencies and author currently outside the country, stated on social media:
“Evan Gershkovich is a very good and brave journalist, not a spy, for Christ’s sake. It (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.”
Kommersant, a Russian newspaper, reported that Gershkovich would be transported to Moscow and held at the Lefortovo prison, an FSB pre-trial detention facility.
As of Thursday, Gershkovich’s mobile phone remained unreachable, and his last online activity on the Telegram messenger service was recorded on Wednesday at 1:28 p.m. Moscow time.
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