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Russia says it will ignore media lobbying for release of arrested US reporter


Reporter for U.S. newspaper The Wall Street Journal Evan Gershkovich, detained on suspicion of espionage, is escorted to a car outside a court building in Moscow, Russia March 30, 2023. REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina

Moscow will ignore a letter from media groups urging the release of a U.S. reporter accused of spying because they have not shown the same regard for a Russian pro-war blogger killed by a bomb, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday.

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich was detained in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg last week and remanded in custody for two months in a closed court hearing, to protests from the United States, the European Union and his employer and fellow journalists.

The reporter, the WSJ and the White House all denied that he was a spy, and more than 30 media outlets and press freedom groups last week appealed to the Russian ambassador in Washington for his release.

But Zakharova complained that Western media had not shown similar concern for Maxim Fomin, the vehemently pro-war Russian military blogger and convicted bank robber known as Vladlen Tatarsky who was killed by a bomb in St Petersburg on Sunday.

“Why on earth should we issue a reaction to the letter if we see their absolute hypocrisy?” Zakharova said.

She said Tatarsky had also been a journalist, “but I haven’t seen any reaction, either collective or individual, from any of those who signed this letter. And if I’m honest, this appeal has completely lost any significance for me.”

Zakharova restated Russia’s position that Gershkovich would be allowed U.S. consular access at some point under standard procedures.

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