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Russians Arrest U.S. Reporter For Spying; First Case Since Cold War

The FSB, Russia’s Federal Security Service, detained a Wall Street Journal reporter, Evan Gershkovich, a U.S. citizen assigned to the newspaper’s Moscow bureau, and accused him of being a spy for the United States, reports the Washington Post. Gershkovich was detained in the city of Yekaterinburg in the Urals. The FSB accused Gershkovich of gathering information about a Russian military enterprise but did not cite any evidence. The Wall Street Journal denied the allegations and demanded his release. The FSB said that "Gershkovich, acting at the request of the American side, collected information constituting a state secret about the activities of an enterprise of the Russian military-industrial complex."

Russia’s justice system is highly politicized, and acquittals are rare. Espionage trials are typically held in secret. Gershkovich was detained Wednesday and was taken to Moscow for a court hearing. A Yekaterinburg news outlet reported that an eyewitness saw plainclothes security agents remove a person from a Yekaterinburg restaurant on Wednesday and place him in a minivan. The case appeared to be the first arrest of a foreign journalist for spying in Russia since the Cold War. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that “as far as we know he was caught red-handed."


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