Russia accuses Wall Street Journal journalist Gershkovich of espionage

Investigators from Russia’s Federal Security Service have charged Evan Gershkovich with espionage, but the Wall Street Journal reporter denied the charges and said he worked as a journalist, Russian news agencies reported Friday.
The Federal Security Service, the main successor to the Soviet-era KGB, said on March 30 that it had detained Gershkovich in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg and opened an espionage case against the 31-year-old for collecting what it said were state secrets about the military-industrial complex.
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“Gershkovich has been charged,” a source was quoted as saying by Interfax. He is accused of espionage.
TASS reported that SFS investigators had formally accused Gershkovich of conducting espionage in the interests of the United States, but that Gershkovich had denied the charge.
“He categorically denied all allegations and claimed he was involved in journalistic activities in Russia,” TASS quoted an unnamed source as saying.
The TASS source declined to comment further, citing the classified nature of the case.
“We have seen media reports indicating that Evan has been charged,” the Journal said in a statement. “As we have said from the beginning, these charges are categorically false and unjustified, and we continue to demand Evan’s immediate release.”
Gershkovich is the first American journalist detained in Russia on espionage charges since the end of the Cold War.
The Kremlin said Gershkovich had been conducting espionage “under the cover” of journalism. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told the United States that Gershkovich was caught “red-handed” while trying to obtain secrets.
The United States has urged Russia to release Gershkovich and has dismissed Russian accusations of espionage as ridiculous. For his part, Russian President Vladimir Putin has yet to speak publicly on the case.

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Original source in Spanish

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