May 19, 2024

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Russia: American journalist accused of “espionage”, his newspaper denies the allegations

Russia: American journalist accused of “espionage”, his newspaper denies the allegations

American journalist Ivan Gershkovich, who was arrested in Russia last week and formally charged Friday with “espionage,” said he and his boss, Wall Street JournalForce Reject.

• Read more: Russia: Arrested American journalist appeals his detention

Russian authorities have “charged” this reporter Wall Street JournalThe former AFP worker “spyed on behalf of his country,” state news agency TASS quoted an anonymous source within the security forces as saying.

“He flatly denied all the allegations and said his activities in Russia were journalistic,” TASS continued.

The Wall Street Journal He was quick to denounce the “absolutely false” allegations.

“As we have said from the beginning, these allegations are completely false and unjustified, and we continue to demand Ivan’s immediate release,” Hammer said in a statement to US Business Daily.

“Unnecessary” pressures

According to Russian news agency Interfax, Mr. Gershkovich has been specifically prosecuted under Article 276 of the Russian Criminal Code, a charge punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

The charges will lead to a trial, the date of which has not yet been announced.

The reporter was arrested last week by Russian security forces while reporting in Yekaterinburg, in the Urals region. Officials accused him of collecting information specifically on the Russian defense ministry.

as Wall Street JournalUS officials, led by Joe Biden and his Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, called on the Kremlin to release the journalist.

But Lynn Tracy, the new US ambassador to Russia, assured Moscow on Thursday that it was “useless” to press him on the file.

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The Russian Foreign Ministry pointed out in a press release that “the hype around this case (…) is useless and pointless in order to put pressure on the Russian authorities and the court that must decide the fate of Ivan Gershkovich.” liberation

The Wall Street Journal In particular, an editorial last week assessed that “expelling the Russian ambassador from the United States and expelling Russian journalists working there would be far less important.”

“arbitrary”

Moscow’s warnings did not stop two top US Senate officials, Democrat Chuck Schumer and Republican Mitch McConnell, from calling for the journalist’s release Friday in a rare joint statement.

These two Congress rulers condemned the “arbitrary detention” and demanded the “immediate release of this world-respected independent journalist”.

The arrest of the 31-year-old Russian-born US citizen comes amid a growing crackdown on the press in Russia following an attack on Ukraine that has severely strained relations between Moscow and Washington.

It follows an exchange in December between American basketball star Brittney Griner, who is in custody in Russia, and Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer who is being held in the United States.

Washington has repeatedly accused Moscow of arbitrarily arresting Americans to use them as bargaining chips and to ransom Russians held in the US.