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Newsline: U.S. top diplomat pledges to keep working on ‘wrongful detention’ of reporter

The United States is working through a formal process to determine whether Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich’s detention by Russia is “wrongful”, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday, adding that in his opinion there is no doubt the journalist is wrongfully detained. “It’s something that we’re working through very deliberately, but expeditiously as well. And I’ll let that process play out,” Blinken said in a news conference in Brussels. “In my own mind, there’s no doubt that he’s being wrongfully detained by Russia, which is exactly what I said to Foreign Minister Lavrov when I spoke to him over the weekend and insisted that Evan be released immediately,” Blinken said. (https://neuters.de/world/blinken-says-us-working-wrongful-detention-label-wsj-reporter-2023-04-05/) Russia’s FSB security service said on March 30 it had arrested Gershkovich, a U.S. citizen, and accused him of gathering information about a Russian defence company that was a state secret. The Wall Street Journal has denied Gershkovich was spying. The White House has called the espionage charge, which carries a prison term of up to 20 years, “ridiculous.” Russia’s ambassador in Washington, Anatoly Antonov, was summoned to the State Department over the arrest on March 30 and met with Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland, White House national security spokesperson John Kirby said on Wednesday. U.S. President Joe Biden has called for Gershkovich’s release. In a telephone call on Sunday with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, Blinken raised Washington’s concerns over the reporter’s “unacceptable detention.”

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