An American journalist for The Wall Street Journal has been arrested in Russia on espionage charges, Russian authorities said Thursday.
The Federal Security Service (FSB) said Ivan Gershkovich was detained in the Ural Mountains city of Yekaterinburg on suspicion of “espionage in the interests of the US government,” according to the state-run TASS and RIA Novosti news agencies.
The FSB accused Gershkovich of collecting “information constituting a state secret about the activities of one of the enterprises of the Russian military-industrial complex.” It provides no evidence.
The Wall Street Journal did not immediately respond to an overnight request for comment.
Gershkovich is a correspondent covering Russia, Ukraine and the former Soviet Union.
He was previously a correspondent for Agence France-Presse and The Moscow Times and a news assistant at The New York Times. Author page On The Wall Street Journal’s website.
His most recent ArticlePublished and co-ranked earlier this week, it carried the headline: “Russia’s Economy Begins to Undo.”
Gershkovich was the first journalist from an American outlet to be arrested on espionage charges in Russia since the Cold War.
His arrest comes amid heightened tensions between Moscow and Washington over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the Kremlin’s domestic crackdown on free speech.
It follows the high-profile release of WNBA star Brittney Griner from Russian custody.
Kreiner was released from a Russian penal colony in December in exchange for arms dealer Viktor Bott, who pleaded guilty to having vape vials with cannabis oil in his luggage, but said he had no criminal intent.
Paul Whelan, an American corporate security executive jailed in Russia on espionage charges – was expected to be included in the exchange, but he remains in prison.
In recent years, Russian President Vladimir Putin has overseen the largest crackdown on free press and political dissent since the Soviet era. His full-scale invasion of Ukraine has seen an escalation, with the country adopting draconian laws banning criticism of the military.
This is a growing story. Check back for updates.