EXCLUSIVE: speaker Kevin McCarthyR-Calif., urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to release the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) arrested in the Red Nation.
At a Thursday event for his Protect the house 2024 Joint fundraising committee at Capitol Hill Club, McCarthy urged Putin to release WSJ reporter Evan Gershkovitch, a US citizen arrested in Russia and being held on suspicion of espionage.
“Russia must release this journalist,” McCarthy told Fox News Digital. “It just shows what Putin is doing.”
“And it also shows that if the President pays the ransom, they’ll go after them and take more Americans with them,” McCarthy continued.
WALL STREET JOURNAL DEFENDS REPORTER AFTER HE WAS ARRESTED BY RUSSIA ON SUSPECTS OF SPIONAGE
“Americans need to make sure they’re not in Russia, but more importantly, this is a journalist who has the right to do his job,” the spokesman said. “And that Putin is trying something else shows how lethal he is.”
McCarthy added that what Putin “is doing violates every area of the rule of law.”
The spokesman’s call for Gershkovitch’s release comes after the US journalist was arrested in Russia on charges of spying on behalf of the US government.
The WSJ vigorously defended its reporter after he was arrested in Russia on espionage charges.
The Russian government’s Federal Security Service said it arrested Gershkovitch in the city of Yekaterinburg and accused him of spying on behalf of the US government.
Gershkovich is “suspected of espionage in the interests of the US government,” the FSB said in a statement to state news agency RIA Novosti. The FSB added that its “illegal activities” had been “suppressed”.
The Russian government agency claimed that it detained the journalist when he was “trying to obtain classified information” “about the activities of one of the enterprises of the Russian military-industrial complex.”
The FSB investigative department opened a criminal case under the article for espionage, RIA Novosti reported.
The newspaper defended its reporter and dismissed Russia’s allegations in a statement.
“The Wall Street Journal vehemently denies the FSB allegations and calls for the immediate release of our trusted and dedicated reporter, Evan Gershkovich. We stand in solidarity with Evan and his family,” wrote Caitlyn Reuss, WSJ’s senior communications manager.
The Journal said Gershkovich covered Russia as part of the newspaper’s Moscow bureau. He is accredited by the country’s foreign ministry to work as a journalist in Russia, the FSB also said.
Gershkovich was previously a reporter for Agence France-Presse and the Moscow Times, and news assistant at the New York Times, his WSJ biography states.
According to a new Russian law, reporters face up to 15 years in prison for reporting on the military, which authorities consider false reports. The law was passed by both chambers of the Russian Parliament.
Some broadcasters such as BBC News have suspended coverage from the country due to the law, citing safety concerns.
Source : news.yahoo.com