- By Antoinette Radford
- BBC News
Russian authorities have denied detained American journalist Evan Gershkovich entry to the consulate, the State Department in Moscow said on Thursday.
Gershkovich, 31, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, was arrested last month on espionage charges.
He denied the allegations. He appeared in a Moscow court on April 18 and was held in a former KGB prison.
The move comes after the US refused to grant visas to a group of Russian reporters, a move Moscow called “provocative”.
Reporters were supposed to travel to New York to cover Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s visit to the United Nations Security Council.
The Russian Foreign Ministry described the decision to refuse the visa as an act of “sabotage”.
It said the US had denied a visa “to interfere with normal journalistic work” and summoned a senior US diplomat to issue a note of protest.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will chair this special meeting of the United Nations Security Council, so the refusal to issue visas to Russian journalists to cover his presence there has prompted Moscow to especially angry.
Lavrov said Russia would not tolerate or forget the US decision, and his deputy, Sergei Ryabkov, told state media that Moscow “will find some form of response for the Americans to remember for a while” long time that such things are not done”. .
“In this regard, the US Embassy has been informed that their request for a consular visit on May 11 to US citizen E Gershkovich, who has been detained on charges of espionage, has been denied. refused,” the State Department statement read.
Mr. Gershkovich was arrested in March while working for the Wall Street Journal, and has been detained in Russia on espionage charges.
Both Mr. Gershkovich and his employer have denied the charges against him, but he could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted of spying.
Russia claims he is trying to obtain classified defense information for the US government.
Reporters Without Borders said Gershkovich was covering a group of Russian mercenaries Wagner in Yekaterinburg, about 1,600 kilometers east of Moscow.
Earlier this week, 300 journalists who had worked in Moscow called on the Russian government to release Mr Gershkovich immediately, praising his “long and impressive” work record, adding that “journalism is not must be a crime.”
The Russian Foreign Ministry said it was considering “other possible steps” regarding Mr. Gershkovich and would notify the US of its decision in due course.
During a hearing in Moscow earlier this month, authorities rejected the legal team’s offer to release him with a bail of 50 million rubles ($614,000) or put him under house arrest. I’m at home.