U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday that he had spoken to his Russian counterpart, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, about the detention of Evan Gershkovich, an American reporter for The Wall Street Journal.
Gershkovich was arrested last week in Russia on charges of spying for Washington, Russia’s FSB security services claimed Thursday. Wall Street Journal editor-in-chief Emma Tucker told “Face the Nation” on Sunday that the charges against Gershkovich are “entirely bogus,” but she said hearing that Blinken and Lavrov spoke is “hugely reassuring to us.”
“We’re hoping that the government will move swiftly to designate Evan as wrongfully detained,” Tucker said. “It can take a long time, but we’re hoping, we’re optimistic it’ll move a bit more swiftly in this case. When that happens, it’s an official recognition that the charges against Evan are entirely bogus. And once that official recognition comes, things can then move a bit more rapidly.”
According to the statement from the Secretary of State’s office, Blinken “conveyed the United States’ grave concern over Russia’s unacceptable detention of a U.S. citizen journalist” and “called for his immediate release.”
The FSB security services last said they had “halted the illegal activities of U.S. citizen Evan Gershkovich,” saying The Wall Street Journal reporter was “suspected of spying in the interests of the American government.”
Gershkovich, 31, was working with press accreditation issued by the Russian foreign ministry. But the statement said he had been detained for gathering information “on an enterprise of the Russian military-industrial complex.”
Tucker wouldn’t elaborate on what story Gershkovich was working on, but said he was “doing what he always does —he was out reporting.”
“He’s a very experienced reporter,” Tucker said. “He’s covered all sorts of stories. He was on a mission over in the East writing about … he was just doing what he always does. He was news-gathering and talking to his contacts out there. “
Tucker said they were “hopeful” they will be in contact with Gershkovich in the next week. In the meantime, the paper has pulled their Moscow bureau chief out of Russia.
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