[Fox News] WSJ reporter Evan Gershkovich set to begin espionage trial in Russia on June 26

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Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich’s trial in Russia on espionage charges will begin on June 26, the court that will hear the case announced Monday.

Gershkovich, a 32-year-old U.S. citizen, has been held behind bars since he was arrested in March 2023 on accusations of collecting secret information about the Russian military complex on behalf of the CIA – allegations he, the U.S. Government and The Wall Street Journal have denied.

“Evan has done nothing wrong,” U.S. State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said last week. “He should never have been arrested in the first place. Journalism is not a crime. The charges against him are false. And the Russian government knows that they’re false. He should be released immediately.”

If convicted, Gershkovich could face 20 years in prison.

WSJ REPORTER EVAN GERSHKOVICH ORDERED TO STAND TRIAL IN RUSSIA ON CHARGE OF ‘GATHERING SECRET INFORMATION’

The trial is set to be held in the Sverdlovsky Regional Court in Yekaterinburg, which is where Gershkovich was arrested. He has since been held in Moscow’s Lefortovo prison.

The court said the trial will be closed to the public, which is typical in espionage cases.

The Biden administration has attempted to negotiate Gershkovich’s release, but Russia’s Foreign Ministry said Moscow would not entertain a potential prisoner swap until a verdict is reached.

WALL STREET JOURNAL REPORTER EVAN GERSHKOVICH TURNS 32 WHILE WRONGFULLY DETAINED BY RUSSIA

Russian President Vladimir Putin has suggested he would consider a prisoner exchange to swap Gershkovich for a Russian national imprisoned in Germany, which appeared to be a reference to Vadim Krasikov, according to The Associated Press.

Krasikov is serving a life sentence for the 2019 killing in Berlin of a Georgian citizen of Chechen descent.

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Putin told The AP that the U.S. Government is taking “energetic steps” to free Gershkovich.

The Russian leader also told international news agencies at an economic forum in St. Petersburg earlier this month that releases “aren’t decided via mass media” but rather, through a “discreet, calm and professional approach.”

“And they certainly should be decided only on the basis of reciprocity,” he said, referring to a potential prisoner swap.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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