Russia has arrested Evan Gershkovich, a Wall Street Journal journalist, on suspicion of espionage, Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) says. He has been placed under arrest for nearly two months, until May 29.

“The illegal activities of the correspondent of the Moscow bureau of the American newspaper The Wall Street Journal, US citizen Evan Gershkovich, born in 1991, accredited at the Russian Foreign Ministry, suspected of espionage in the interests of the American government, have been suppressed,” an FSB statement said.

Also Read | Russian Su-27 fighter collides with US surveillance Reaper drone, causing drone to crash in Black Sea

According to the statement, he was detained in Yekaterinburg, on the eastern side of the Ural Mountains “while trying to obtain secret information” relating to “the activities of one of the enterprises of the Russian military-industrial complex.”

The case is marked “top secret” and Gershkovich did not admit guilt, Russian state news agency TASS reported on Thursday. Daniil Berman, the lawyer representing Gershkovich was not allowed to attend the Moscow hearing. “They told me they already have an assigned lawyer,” Berman said.

Also Read | Who was Andrey Botikov? Russian scientist behind Sputnik V Covid vaccine found dead at home

Who is Evan Gershkovich?

Gershkovich’s bio page on the Wall Street Journal’s website says that he covers Russia, Ukraine, and the former Soviet Union. He previously worked for the news agency Agence France-Presse, the Moscow Times, and the New York Times.

Gershkovich is based in the Wall Street Journal’s Moscow bureau. He had accreditation from the Russian Foreign Ministry to work as a journalist in the country, the FSB noted.

Also Read | Why Boycott Heineken is trending on social media on first year anniversary of Ukraine-Russia war

His last report from Moscow published on Tuesday focused on the slowdown of Russia’s economy after the West imposed sanctions on the Kremlin following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year.

If convicted of espionage, Gershkovich could face up to 20 years in prison.