Evan Gershkovich, an American reporter for The Wall Street Journal based out of Moscow, has been arrested by Russian security forces on espionage charges. He was detained while in the city of Yekaterinburg, in the Ural Mountains. The Journal is denying the allegations and has demanded he be released immediately.
This marks the first time that a U.S journalist has been detained on the accusation of spying since the Cold War when, in 1986, American reporter Nick Daniloff was detained on similar charges.
According to the FSB- the Federal Security Service, successor to the Soviet-era KGB, Gershkovich was arrested in Yekaterinburg. They claim that he was trying to obtain classified information pertaining to “the activities of one of the enterprises of the Russian military-industrial complex” and that Gershovich was acting on American instruction.
In their statement to the press, the Wall Street Journal said that they “vehemently deny the allegations from the FSB and seek the immediate release of our trusted and dedicated reporter, Evan Gershkovich. We stand in solidarity with Evan and his family.”
A district court in Moscow said on Thursday morning that Gershkovich will be detained until May 29.
Sergei Ryabkov, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, told TASS, Russia’s leading news organization, on Thursday that it was premature to raise the possibility of a prisoner exchange for Gershkovich.
His detention raises the stakes on a significant ramping up of Russia’s campaign against foreign media.