Biden calls on Russia to release Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich: ‘Let him go’
President Biden on Friday called on Russia to release Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, a US citizen accused of spying on behalf of the US government.
“Let him go,” Biden told reporters on Friday when asked about Gershkovich’s arrest.
Russian state news agency TASS reported that Gershkovich was sentenced to be detained until May 29. He is spending his third day in captivity in Russia.
Biden, who stopped to speak to the press for a brief group outside the White House before boarding Marine One, then said there was a “process” going on regarding Gershkovich.
WALL STREET JOURNAL DEFENDS JOURNALIST AFTER HE WAS ARRESTED BY RUSSIA ON SUSPECT OF SPYING
The Russian government’s Federal Security Service claimed to have arrested the journalist while he was “trying to obtain secret information” about the activities of one of the “companies of the Russian military-industrial complex”.
The National Press Club called for Gershkovich’s immediate release on Thursday.
“We consider this an unjust detention and call on the State Department to designate his detention in this manner immediately,” National Press Club President Eileen O’Reilly said in a joint statement with the president of the National Institute of Journalism of the National Press Club, Gil Klein.
“Gershkovich is a journalist. He should be released immediately and unharmed and allowed to resume his important work,” the National Press Club continued. “Evan has a prominent and distinguished career working for The New York Times and AFP before The Wall Street Journal.”
The Wall Street Journal also strongly defended its reporter and denied Russia’s allegations in a statement.
“The Wall Street Journal vehemently denies the FSB allegations and calls for the immediate release of our trusted and dedicated reporter, Evan Gershkovich. We stand in solidarity with Evan and his family,” wrote the WSJ’s senior communications officer, Caitlyn Reuss.
Gershkovich is the first American journalist to be arrested for spying in Russia since 1986, when US News and World Report correspondent Nicholas Daniloff was arrested. Daniloff was released without charge 20 days later in an exchange for a member of the Soviet Union’s mission to the United Nations who was in FBI custody.
Gershkovich was previously a reporter for Agence France-Presse and the Moscow Times and a press assistant for the New York Times, according to his WSJ biography.
PUTIN USING WSJ REPORTER TO PUSH NARRATIVE IS TRYING US TO ‘DESTABILIZING’ RUSSIA, EXPERTS SAY
A Russian journalist received a six-year prison sentence after the Kremlin-controlled parliament last year approved a law banning the spread of “false information” about the country’s military campaign in Ukraine.
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Fox News’ Kristine Parks, Louis Casiano and The Associated Press contributed to this report.