Secretary of State: Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich ‘wrongfully detained’ by Russia

Evan Gershkovich in Russia
Evan Gershkovich

Princeton High School graduate Evan Gershkovich, a Wall Street Journal reporter who has been detained by the Russian government and accused of spying, has been wrongfully detained, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday.

Blinken,  wh0 called for Gershkovich’s release during a call with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov last weekend, said the State Department is working “deliberately but expeditiously” to complete an assessment to determine whether Gershkovich meets the criteria for a broad government effort to secure his release. Blinken told reporters in Brussels after a meeting of NATO foreign ministers that he would let the assessment process play out. “In my own mind, there’s no doubt that he’s been wrongfully detained by Russia,” he told reporters. 

A determination of wrongful detention would enable the U.S. government to provide support and information to Gershkovich’s family.

Gershkovich, who works for the Wall Street Journal’s Moscow bureau, was arrested last week during a reporting trip to Yekaterinburg, Russia. He could face 20 years in prison if he is convicted on espionage charges. The Russian Security Service has accused him of gathering information about a Russian military enterprise, a claim the Wall Street Journal says is bogus. Gershkovich is the first American correspondent to be detained on espionage charges in Russia since the Cold War. In 1986, U.S. News and World Report reporter Nicholas Daniloff was arrested by the KGB.

Gershkovich grew up in Princeton and was the captain of the Princeton High School soccer team. He graduated in 2010. He has been a reporter in Russia since 2017. He previously worked at the Moscow Times, Agence France-Presse, and as a news assistant for the New York Times.