Gershkovich Accused of Spying on Military Factory

He's to stand trial in Yekaterinburg on an unknown date
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 13, 2024 9:50 AM CDT
Gershkovich Accused of Spying on Military Factory
"Wall Street Journal" reporter Evan Gershkovich, left, stands in a glass cage in a courtroom in Moscow on April 23.   (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)

US journalist Evan Gershkovich, who has been jailed for more than a year in Russia on espionage charges, will stand trial in the Ural Mountains city of Yekaterinburg, authorities said Thursday, per the AP. An indictment of the Wall Street Journal reporter has been finalized and his case was filed to the Sverdlovsky Regional Court in the city about 870 miles east of Moscow, according to Russia's Prosecutor General's Office. Gershkovich is accused of "gathering secret information" for the CIA about Uralvagonzavod, a facility in the Sverdlovsk region that produces and repairs military equipment, the Prosecutor General's Office said in a statement, revealing for the first time the details of the accusations against him.

The officials didn't provide any evidence to back up the accusations. There was no word on when the trial would begin. Gershkovich was detained while on a reporting trip to Yekaterinburg in March 2023 and accused of spying for the US. The reporter, his employer, and the US government denied the allegations, and Washington designated him as wrongfully detained. Russia's Federal Security Service, or FSB, alleged at the time he was acting on US orders to collect state secrets but also provided no evidence. Gershkovich faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he believed a deal could be reached to free Gershkovich, hinting he'd be open to swapping him for a Russian national imprisoned in Germany, which appeared to be Vadim Krasikov. He was serving a life sentence for the 2019 killing in Berlin of a Georgian citizen of Chechen descent. Asked last week by the AP about Gershkovich, Putin said the US is "taking energetic steps" to secure his release. He said any such releases "aren't decided via mass media" but through a "discreet, calm, and professional approach." "And they certainly should be decided only on the basis of reciprocity," he added in an allusion to a potential prisoner swap. (More Evan Gershkovich stories.)

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