Evan Gershkovich, a citizen of the United States and a correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, has been detained in Russia on suspicion of spying, according to a report from Russia’s Interfax news agency on Thursday. According to the report, he is being accused of spying on behalf of the United States government as tensions between Washington and Moscow continue to rise.
The Russian Federal Security Service said on Thursday that Gershkovich was taken into custody in Yekaterinburg and that he was “suspected of spying for the U.S. government.”
The journalist, who works for the Moscow bureau of the Journal,“was gathering information about a Russian defense plant that constitutes a state secret” and was “acting on the orders of the U.S.,” the FSB alleged in a statement, saying he was detained “while trying to obtain secret information.”
According to Interfax, a criminal prosecution has been initiated against Gershkovich by the Russian government, and he faces a possible sentence of up to 20 years in jail.
According to the information that can be found on his Twitter account, Gershkovich has been employed by the Journal since the month of January 2022. Before that, he had positions at Agence France-Presse, the Moscow Times, and as a news assistant for the New York Times.
The Journal issued a statement in which it stated it “vehemently denies the allegations from the FSB and seeks the immediate release of our trusted and dedicated reporter, Evan Gershkovich,” adding the publication “stand[s] in solidarity with Evan and his family.” A request for comment from the United States Embassy in Russia has not yet been met with a response as of yet.