One reporter associated with the Wall Street Journal has been arrested inside Russia after he was labeled as a spy by one of the main Russian security firms.
As of Thursday, Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) announced that Evan Gershkovich, an American reporter working with the WSJ's Moscow Bureau, had been arrested in Yekaterinburg.
As explained by the FSB, Gershkovich had "collected information constituting a state secret about the activities of one of the enterprises of the Russian military-industrial complex" after "acting on the instructions of the American side."
Gershkovich has now become the target of an espionage case due to being recognized as a journalist by the Russian Government in the past. The WSJ has denied any and all accusations that Gershkovich was in the country to spy.
"The Wall Street Journal vehemently denies the allegations from the FSB and seeks the immediate release of our trusted and dedicated reporter, Evan Gershkovich," the outlet stated in a release. "We stand in solidarity with Evan and his family."
The alleged "illegal activities" which were being carried out by Gershkovich had been fully "stopped" by the FSB, explained the agency. As stated by Maria Zakharov, a spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Gershkovich was taking part in "activities that have nothing to do with journalism."
Marking the first time in quite a few decades that an American journalist has ended up being arrested in Russia, Gershkovich’s arrest took place within the interior of the country, nearby to the Ural Mountains. In his career, Gerschkovich has previously worked for both the New York Times and Agence France-Presse. His most recent story examined the impact on the Russian economy of ongoing Western sanctions.
As explained by Jeanne Cavelier from Reporters Without Borders, this arrest might be possible retaliation as the U.S. has chosen to put heavy backing on Ukraine for the war against Russia.
"It looks like a retaliation measure of Russia against the United States, so we are very alarmed because it is probably a way to intimidate all Western journalists that are trying to investigate aspects of the war on the ground in Russia," stated Cavelier to The Associated Press. "The Western powers should immediately ask for clarifications on the charges, because as far as we know he was just doing his job as a journalist.