US journalist Gershkovich charged for espionage, set to stand trial soon


American journalist Evan Gershkovich will face trial in Russia on espionage charges, according to Russian prosecutors.

The Wall Street Journal reporter is accused of collecting “secret information” from a Russian tank factory for the CIA.

Prosecutors announced he would be tried in Yekaterinburg, the city where he was arrested last March while covering the war in Ukraine. Both Mr. Gershkovich and the US government deny the charges, with Washington officially labelling him as “wrongfully detained.”

On Thursday, Russian prosecutors stated that an investigation had found Mr. Gershkovich had gathered “secret information” about the “production and repair of military equipment” at a Russian tank factory.

They claimed he carried out these “illegal actions using painstaking conspiratorial methods” under the CIA’s instructions.

Since his arrest, Mr. Gershkovich has been held in pre-trial detention in Moscow, approximately 1,000 miles (1,609 km) from Yekaterinburg.

He has spent over a year in custody and, if convicted, could face up to 20 years in prison. His arrest marks the first time since the Soviet era that Russia has accused a US journalist of espionage.

The American embassy in Moscow has labelled the detention “baseless.” The Wall Street Journal has accused Moscow of “stockpiling Americans in Russian jails to trade them later.” Russian officials barely conceal their view of Mr. Gershkovich as a bargaining chip.

Earlier this year, in an interview with Tucker Carlson, President Vladimir Putin suggested that a deal could be made to free Mr. Gershkovich.

He stated that it depended on “our partners [taking] reciprocal steps” and hinted at the identity of a person Russia would consider in a prisoner exchange.


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