Russia arrests American journalist on espionage charges

Russia arrests American journalist on espionage charges

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Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he believed Gershkovich had been “caught red-handed”. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said it was too early to talk about any potential prisoner swaps with the United States, adding that such deals are usually made only after a prisoner has been convicted.

The US State Department’s travel guidance, last updated in February this year, advises US citizens not to travel to Russia due to the risk of arbitrary arrest, and says those living or traveling there should depart immediately .

In addition to escalating Moscow’s diplomatic conflict with the United States, the case could further isolate Russia by scaring off some foreign journalists working there.

The arrest was “a direct attack on all foreign correspondents who still work in Russia. And that means the FSB is off the leash”, wrote Andrei Soldatov, a Russian journalist living outside the country who specializes in the security services.

Moscow has effectively banned all independent Russian news outlets since the start of the war, but continues to accredit some foreign journalists. Journalism has been increasingly limited by laws that impose lengthy sentences for any public criticism of the war, which Russia refers to as a “special military operation”.

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