David Whelan on Russia’s imprisonment of his brother Paul, WSJ reporter Evan Gershkovich
David Whelan speaks to Fox News Digital about the plights of his brother Paul and Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, both U.S. citizens imprisoned in Russia.
Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich has been officially charged with spying in Russia, news organizations from the country are reporting Friday.
Interfax, quoting a source, said “Gershkovich has been charged” with espionage, according to Reuters.
“He categorically denied all the accusations and stated that he was engaged in journalistic activities in Russia,” Reuters also quoted TASS – a Russian state media organization – as saying.
The news of the official charges came after U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell issued a joint statement calling for the release of Gershkovich, arguing the allegations against him are “baseless” and “fabricated.”
SCHUMER, MCCONNELL ‘STRONGLY CONDEMN’ WSJ REPORTER DETENTION IN RUSSIA ON ‘FABRICATED CHARGES’
The Wall Street Journal has dismissed any notion that Evan Gershkovich was doing anything other than working as a journalist. (Fox News)
Gershkovich, the newspaper’s Moscow bureau reporter, was arrested on March 29 by the Russian government’s Federal Security Service on suspicion of espionage on behalf of the United States.
The publication has vehemently denied these charges while several of Gershkovich’s colleagues have defended his integrity. President Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also have called for his release.
“We strongly condemn the wrongful detention of U.S. citizen and Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, and demand the immediate release of this internationally known and respected independent journalist,” Schumer and McConnell said Friday in a joint statement.
INSIDE THE RUSSIAN SPY ‘TRIALS’ AWAITING WSJ JOURNALIST EVAN GERSHKOVICH
Russian President Vladimir Putin has not addressed Gershkovich’s arrest. (GAVRIIL GRIGOROV/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images)
“Mr. Gershkovich was accredited by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to work as a journalist in Russia. Since his arrest, Russian authorities have failed to present any credible evidence to justify their fabricated charges,” the statement continued.
“Moreover, against standard diplomatic practice and likely in violation of international law the U.S. Embassy has been denied consular access to Mr. Gershkovich,” it added.
Schumer and McConnell also said “the Kremlin continues to wrongfully detain U.S. citizen Paul Whelan” and that it should “release Mr. Whelan and Mr. Gershkovich now.
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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called for Gershkovich’s release on Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
“Let there be no mistake: journalism is not a crime,” the statement continued. “We demand the baseless, fabricated charges against Mr. Gershkovich be dropped and he be immediately released and reiterate our condemnation of the Russian government’s continued attempts to intimidate, repress, and punish independent journalists and civil society voices.”
Gershkovich was originally detained by Russian forces on March 29 in the city of Yekaterinburg after being accused of “trying to obtain secret information,” “on the activities of one of the enterprises of the Russian military-industrial complex.”
Fox News’ Lindsay Kornick contributed to this report.
Greg Norman is a reporter at Fox News Digital.