30 Mar 2023 11:32

Russian FSB reports detention of WSJ correspondent in Yekaterinburg on suspicion of espionage

MOSCOW. March 30 (Interfax) - Evan Gershkovich, a U.S. citizen and Wall Street Journal correspondent, has been detained in Yekaterinburg on suspicion of espionage, the public relations center of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) said on Thursday.

"The Russian Federal Security Service put an end to the illegal activity of U.S. citizen Evan Gershkovich, born in 1991, a correspondent of the Moscow bureau of the U.S. newspaper The Wall Street Journal accredited by the Russian Foreign Ministry, suspected of spying for the U.S. government," the FSB said.

According to the FSB, Gershkovich, "acting on the orders of the U.S., was gathering information about a Russian defense plant that constitutes a state secret."

"The American was detained in Yekaterinburg while trying to obtain secret information," it said

The FSB investigative department opened a criminal case against the U.S. citizen on counts of espionage.

Gershkovich faces up to 20 years in prison.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova also commented on the detention of Gershkovich on Telegram. "What the employee of the U.S. media outlet, The Wall Street Journal, was doing in Yekaterinburg has nothing to do with journalism. Regretfully, this is not the first time when 'foreign correspondent' status, a press visa and accreditation is used by foreigners in our country as cover for non-journalistic activities. This is not the first time a known person from the West has been caught in the act," Zakharova said.