The United States government has condemned recent arrest in Russia of Wall Street Journal correspondent Evan Gershkovich on bogus ‘espionage’ charges, calling it “an assault on press freedom.”
According to Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), Evan Gershkovich, a Wall Street Journal correspondent, who covers news from Russia and the former USSR, was arrested by Russian secret police in the city of Ekaterinburg on ‘suspicion of espionage’ yesterday.
Putin’s spokesman claimed that American journalist was ‘caught red-handed’ while trying to obtain ‘Russian state secrets.’
The US Department of State has called on US citizens who are traveling to or residing in Russia to leave Russia “immediately” in the aftermath of the arrest, while US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington was ‘deeply concerned’ about the situation.
“We reiterate our strong warnings about the danger posed to US citizens inside the Russian Federation. US citizens residing or traveling in Russia should depart immediately,” top US diplomat said in a statement.
“In the strongest possible terms, we condemn the Kremlin’s continued attempts to intimidate, repress, and punish journalists and civil society voices,” Blinken added.
The White House voiced a similar message, with Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stating that the “targeting of American citizens by the Russian government is unacceptable.”
“We also condemn the Russian government’s continued targeting and repression of journalists and freedom of the press,” Jean-Pierre said, advising Americans to “heed the US government’s warning to not travel to Russia” or leave should they happen to already be in the country.