< /p> American journalist Evan Gershkovich in court in Moscow, April 18, 2023.
Moscow/Washington – The Russian Foreign Ministry announced today that it has rejected a request from the United States Embassy to visit detained American journalist Evan Gershkovich from The Wall Street Journal (WSJ). According to him, this is retaliation for the fact that the American authorities did not issue visas to Russian journalists who were supposed to accompany the head of Russian diplomacy, Sergei Lavrov, to the New York headquarters of the United Nations. Russia now chairs the UN Security Council.
Today, the Russian Ministry handed over a note to the representative of the American Embassy protesting against the “provocative behavior” of the embassy, which prevented the issuance of visas to Minister Lavrov's press entourage. “Such sabotage preventing normal journalistic work will not go without retaliation,” Russian diplomacy emphasized.
In this context, according to the TASS agency, the Ministry rejected the US Embassy's request for a consular visit planned for May 11 to an American journalist accused of espionage.< /p>
The journalist was detained in Yekaterinburg in the Urals at the end of March by the Russian FSB secret service. She claims she caught him trying to get classified information, she says he was gathering information about the military industry in Russia. Subsequently, Russian investigators accused him of espionage. Gershkovich denies the allegations. Shortly after his arrest, the security forces took him to Moscow's Lefortovo prison, and the court remanded him in custody until at least May 29. People suspected of espionage and other serious crimes are held in Lefortovo, an infamous prison that fell under the control of the KGB secret service under communism.
US Ambassador to Russia Lynne Tracy said on April 17 that the US had gained consular access to Gerschkovich for the first time since his detention and she was able to visit him. She is feeling well and holding on, she wrote on social networks.
The 31-year-old journalist and the WSJ have repeatedly rejected the accusations of espionage as completely unfounded. Gershkovich is the first American reporter since the Cold War to be detained in Russia on espionage charges.
Washington considers the journalist's imprisonment unjustified and calls for his release. Two other major American newspapers, The New York Times (NYT) and The Washington Post (WP), expressed the same opinion in a statement published today together with the WSJ.
“We remain shocked and outraged by the unjustified arrest… reporter Evan Gershkovich, who is imprisoned by the Russian government purely for reporting,” reads a full-page ad that the trio of papers ran in today's national editions. “The unjust arrest of a reporter anywhere in the world is simply unacceptable. We are united in demanding that Evan be released, and we will not rest until he returns home safely,” the newspaper's editors-in-chief and publishers say.