(CNN) Russian investigators have formally charged a Wall Street Journal reporter Ivan Gershkovich Along with spying, Russian state media reported on Friday that he denied the allegations.
“The FSB investigation accused Gershkovich of espionage in the interests of his country. He flatly denied all allegations and said he was engaged in journalistic activities in Russia,” a company representative told state news agency TASS.
According to TASS, the representative refused to comment further as the journalist’s case was marked as “top secret”.
Gershkovich was arrested last week by Russian authorities, who accused him of espionage, marking a significant shift in both Moscow’s tensions with the United States and its campaign against foreign news media.
A Moscow court will hear an appeal filed by Gershkovich’s lawyers against his arrest on April 18, Russian state media quoted the court as saying. The reporter is currently being held in the notorious Leftereovo pre-detention center until May 29.
Gershkovich’s arrest is the first time since the Cold War that an American journalist accused of spying by Moscow has been detained.
The Wall Street Journal published a new report Friday condemning Gershkovich’s detention in Russia. “We have seen media reports indicating that Evan has been charged,” the statement said. “As we have said from the beginning, these allegations are categorically false and unjustified, and we continue to demand Ivan’s immediate release.”
There is also the arrest of Gershkovich Widely condemned by Western officials and the Journal vehemently denied espionage charges against Gershkovich, he described his arrest as “a gross affront to a free press” that would “inflame all free peoples and governments around the world.”
On Wednesday, Foreign Secretary Antony Blinken urged Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to immediately release Gershkovich.
“In my own mind, there is no doubt that he is wrongfully detained by Russia, and this is what I said at the weekend when I spoke with Foreign Minister Lavrov,” Blinken told a press conference in Brussels. “But, as always, I want to make sure we get through it because there’s a proper process, and I expect it to be over soon.”
CNN reported On Tuesday Two U.S. officials told CNN that the Biden administration is preparing to officially announce that Gershkovich was wrongfully detained in Russia, which would trigger new U.S. government resources to seek his release.