Russia: What We Know About the Arrest of a Wall Street Journal Reporter for Espionage

An unprecedented arrest

Russia: What We Know About the Arrest of a Wall Street Journal Reporter for Espionage

An unprecedented arrest. The FSB, the Russian security services, announced Thursday the arrest of an American journalist, Evan Gershkovich, correspondent for the Wall Street Journal. The arrest of a foreign journalist on such a charge is unprecedented in recent Russian history.

"The FSB foiled the illegal activity of the accredited correspondent […] of the Moscow office of the American newspaper The Wall Street Journal, the United States citizen Evan Gershkovich," the Russian Federal Security Service said in a statement, quoted by the Russian agencies. He is "suspected of spying for the benefit of the United States" and of collecting information "about a Russian military-industrial complex company". According to these same agencies, it is still too early for Moscow to discuss an exchange of prisoners.

Before joining the American daily, in 2022, Evan Gershkovich was a correspondent for Agence France-Presse in Moscow and, before that, for the English-language newspaper Moscow Times. Perfectly Russian-speaking, the 31-year-old journalist is of Russian origin and his parents are settled in the United States.

The Wall Street Journal said Thursday it was "deeply concerned for the safety" of its reporter, the daily said in a brief statement. , a reliable and conscientious journalist, sued the newspaper. We stand in solidarity with Evin and his family. »

Breaking: Russia’s main security agency said it had detained Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, a U.S. citizen, for what it described as espionage

"What the contributor to the American publication Wall Street Journal was doing in Ekaterinburg had nothing to do with journalism," said Russian diplomatic spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on Telegram, adding that the reporter was "not the first famous Westerner to be caught red-handed." The Kremlin has warned Washington against any form of retaliation against Russian media working in the United States after the arrest of the journalist caught, according to Moscow, "in the act" of spying. "We hope there won't be, and there shouldn't be," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters when asked about the possibility that Russian media outlets in the United States to be checked in response to the arrest of Evan Gershkovich.

France was quick to express its concern after the arrest, calling on Moscow to respect freedom of the press. "We had the opportunity to condemn Russia's repressive attitude", whether towards the Russian press or the foreign press, said Anne-Claire Legendre, spokesperson for the French Ministry of Affairs. foreign countries, during a press briefing.

"The accusation of espionage is ridiculous," White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre reacted Thursday. The State Department said it had contacted Russia to obtain consular access to the detained journalist and the White House said it was in contact with his family. "The fact that the Russian government is targeting American citizens is unacceptable," Karine Jean-Pierre added in a separate statement, in turn condemning Mr. Gershkovich's arrest in "the strongest terms."