MOSCOW – An American correspondent for the Wall Street Journal has been detained by Russia’s intelligence service on suspicion of spying and could face up to 20 years in prison. marking the first time since the Cold War that a U.S. correspondent has been accused of spying.
Evan Gershkovich was detained in the Ural Mountain city of Yekaterinburg on suspicion of “espionage in the interests of the American government.” according to a Federal Security Service (FSB) statement that was cited by official media. When asked for more details, Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for the Kremlin, responded, “As far as we know, he was caught red-handed.”
Officials transported Mr. Gershkovich to Moscow, where he appeared in court with a government-appointed defense lawyer. The lawyer representing Gershkovich was not allowed to attend the Moscow hearing.
Daniil Berman was denied access to the Lefortovo court session when the detention measures were decided.
Gershkovich was given a detention order until May 29, according to the court’s news service, which was quoted by TASS.
In a statement, the Wall Street Journal said it “vehemently denies the allegations from the FSB and seeks the immediate release of our trusted and dedicated reporter, Evan Gershkovich.” “We stand in solidarity with Evan and his family.”
The 31-year-old Gershkovich, whose parents are from the former Soviet Union and now reside in the United States, speaks Russian fluently.
Prior to his work as a journalist for the Wall Street Journal, he worked as a news assistant at The New York Times and as a reporter for Agence France-Presse and The Moscow Times.