Russian court extends detention of Wall Street Journal journalist Evan Gershkovich by 3 months

What’s next for Evan Gershkovich?

What’s next for Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich detained in Russia?


Washington — A Russian court extended the detention of a Wall Street Journal journalist Evan Gershkovich for at least three more months, Russian media reported on Tuesday, the latest setback in efforts to secure his release.

The TASS and Interfax news agencies reported that the Lefortovsky District Court in Moscow ordered Gershkovich’s detention until August 30, citing the court’s press service. Gershkovich is facing espionage charges that the United States has denounced as fabricated, and the State Department has determined he was “wrongfully detained“, a designation that compels the US government to work to secure his release.

The 31-year-old correspondent was arrested in march in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg and soon accused of espionage. The Russian Foreign Ministry claimed he had been ‘caught red-handed while trying to obtain secret information’ and ‘used his status as a journalist as a cover for illegal actions’, a charge strenuously denied by Gershkovich, the Wall Street Journal and US officials. He appealed against his pre-trial detention in April, which was dismissed by court.

His detention sparked an outcry in the United States, with congressional leaders from both parties issuing rare statements demanding his immediate release. President Biden condemned his continued detention and spoke with his family in April. The American Ambassador to Russia visited Gershkovich in the prison where he was held last month.

Gershkovich is the first American journalist to be detained for alleged espionage in Russia since the Cold War. The detention of US citizens has become a key lever for the Kremlin as it seeks to maintain its war effort in Ukraine while under crippling Western sanctions. WNBA star Britney Griner was released in a prisoner swap with the United States last year, a deal that saw a notorious Russian arms dealer handed over to Moscow.

United States imposed new sanctions in April targeting the Russian security service, known as the FSB, for its role in illegally detaining Americans.

At least one other American is currently being wrongfully detained in Russia, according to the United States Paul Whelan, an American businessman, has been held behind bars since 2018 and is serving a 16-year prison sentence for espionage. He told CNN over the weekend that he believed the “wheels turn” towards securing his release. Whelan was left out of the prisoner exchanges that saw Griner and another American, Trevor Roseaugo free.


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