Russia attempts to blackmail WSJ with veiled threat over Evan Gershkovich
A Moscow source warned the wall street journal (WSJ) against the continued publication of “disinformation” about Russia, suggesting that their coverage indicates that they do not care about the fate of their American journalist Evan Gershkovich, who was arrested by the Federal Security Service (FSB ) Russian on March 29 for espionage allegations.
The unnamed “informed” source told Russian news agency RIA Novosti on Friday that the WSJ continues to publish “fake” articles about Russia forgetting about Gershkovich.
“If the the wall street journal continues to engage in non-journalistic activities, publishing disinformation about Russia, it will mean that editors are not at all interested in the fate of Gershkovich,” the source told RIA Novosti. The source claimed that the WSJ recently published articles with false information about Russia, but without specifying the articles or the subjects covered by the newspaper.
Tensions have been high between Russia and the United States since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine last February. The two countries sharply criticized each other when Russia arrested Gershkovich who the US State Department said was ‘wrongfully detained’, meaning the US believes he was primarily targeted because he is a US citizen.
Gershkovich has been in pre-trial detention at Lefortovo prison in Moscow since early April, according to Meduza. A Moscow court extended his arrest for another three months at a preliminary hearing on Tuesday, a decision Gershkovich appealed on Friday, according to Reuters.
In a statement released Tuesday by Dow Jones, which publishes the WSJthe newspaper expressed disappointment with the court’s decision.
“Today our distinguished colleague and journalist, Evan Gershkovich, appeared for a preliminary hearing in a Moscow court. While we expected there would be no change to Evan’s wrongful detention, “We are deeply disappointed. The charges are patently false, and we continue to demand his immediate release,” Log said.
Gershkovich was arrested in the city of Yekaterinburg on espionage allegations. The FSB has launched a criminal espionage case against him, in which he could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted. The United States and the the wall street journal denied the espionage charge and continued to call for his immediate release.
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken previously said US consular officials have not had access to Gershkovich since his arrest. The State Department said it was “a violation of Russia’s obligations under our consular convention and a violation of international law”, referring to a treaty adopted by the United States and the Soviet Union in 1964.
In April, Sergei Ryabkov, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, warned that Russia would not tolerate American “pressure” in Gershkovich’s situation.
Ryabkov told reporters at the time that Russia was considering granting US diplomats consular access to the detained journalist, but he criticized US attempts to “pressure” Russia over it.
“We will not tolerate any attempt to pressure us, and it doesn’t matter what status they give this person in Washington. We will act in accordance with our own internal needs, standards and laws that apply in this situation and nothing more,” Ryabkov said at the time, according to state news agency Tass.
Newsweek contacted by e-mail with the Wall Street Journal press representative for comment.