Wall Street Journal reporter arrested on suspicion of espionage – FSB
A correspondent working for the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) in Russia has been arrested in the city of Ekaterinburg in the Urals, the FSB security service announced on Thursday.
Evan Gershkovich, who previously worked for the Moscow Times and AFP in the Russian capital, has been accused of trying to collect intelligence about a defense industry factory, in violation of Russia’s laws on state secrets, the statement said. If charged with espionage, the journalist could face between 10 and 20 years in prison.
The FSB alleges that Gershkovich, a US citizen who has accreditation from the Foreign Ministry to work in Russia, “acted in the interest of the US government” when he sought to obtain classified information. He was arrested “during an attempt to receive” the intelligence, the statement added.
The WSJ is “deeply concerned for the safety of Mr Gershkovich,” the outlet said in a statement.
The Russian Foreign Ministry has commented on the detention, stating that whatever Gershkovich was doing, “it had nothing to do with journalism.” Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova noted that the status of a correspondent and journalistic credentials have previously been used as cover by others, and that other Western nationals have been caught in similar situations in the past.
Before joining the WSJ, Gershkovich was a reporter for Agence France-Presse and the Moscow Times, and a news assistant at the New York Times, according to his bio.