ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP via Getty Images
- The Russian FSB says it arrested a Wall Street Journal reporter.
- The reporter, Evan Gershkovich, has been accused of espionage.
- The case adds more tension to US-Russia relations as Putin’s invasion enters its second year.
Russia’s internal security service said it detained Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich and accused him of “espionage in the interests of the American government.”
The announcement came in a statement published by Russian state media early Thursday morning.
The Wall Street Journal issued a statement denying the allegations and demanding Gershkovich’s immediate release.
According to the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), Gershkovich was detained in Yekaterinburg, a city in the Ural mountains.
At the Journal, Gershkovich contributed to daily coverage on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine.
In an interview on the website of Bowdoin College, from which Gershkovich graduated in 2014, the reporter described the experience of reporting from Moscow during the pandemic.
He recalls working for an Asian nonprofit, then as a news assistant at The New York Times, before moving to Russia to report for The Moscow Times. The son of Soviet émigrés, Gershkovich told Bowdoin that he grew up in New York and spoke Russian at home.
“When you start reporting in Russia, you often hear that it will be very hard to get people to talk,” he told Tom Porter, who works at Bowdoin.
“And while that may be true of Russian officialdom — though not all of it —I have found that if you go looking for the right people, many of them want to tell their stories.”
The last American journalist to be arrested in Russia was Nicholas D. Daniloff, whom the Soviet Union’s KGB agency accused of espionage in 1986, five years before the end of the Cold War.
The Reagan administration was able to secure his release in less than a month after agreeing to release of an employee from the Soviet mission to the United Nations, who also faced spying charges.