Reporter for U.S. newspaper The Wall Street Journal Evan Gershkovich Reporter for U.S. newspaper The Wall Street Journal Evan Gershkovich 

Detained WSJ reporter meets lawyers in Russia for first time

American journalist Evan Gershkovich, arrested and charged with espionage in Russia last week, met his lawyers for the first time on Tuesday. The meeting was confirmed by The Wall Street Journal newspaper, for which Gershkovich has been reporting from Russia.

By Stefan J. Bos  

The Wall Street Journal editor-in-chief Emma Tucker told staff that after meeting his lawyers for the first time, it became clear that reporter Gershkovich's health was good.

She added that he "is grateful for the outpouring of support from around the world."  

"Evan's family," she explained in the message, "are relieved to know we finally have contact with Evan."

Last Thursday, a Moscow court ordered Gershkovich to remain in pre-trial detention until May 29 on espionage charges with a prison term of up to 20 years.

Tucker said she was pleased that the United States government discussed the case with Russia. "The fact that Secretary of State Anthony Blinken spoke to his Russian counterpart is hugely reassuring to us. We know that the U.S. government has been taking the case very seriously right up to the top. And as I say that, for us, it has been gratifying to know that they take it as seriously as they do."    

She and others have vehemently denied the reporter has been involved in espionage. Instead, they suggest that the charges are linked to his writings that may have upset Moscow.

Gershkovich stories have included reports on Russians facing repression and Russians mourning Ukrainians killed in Moscow's ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

As fighting continues, there was concern Wednesday about the security around Europe's largest nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia, which Russian forces have occupied.

Russian media said a Ukrainian drone crashed near the power plant ahead of a visit by the chief of the global nuclear watchdog in Russia for talks on the plant's security.

International Atomic Energy Agency head Rafael Grossi was due to travel to Russia's Kaliningrad region on Wednesday.

At the same time, Ukraine's president crossed the border with Poland. Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Ukraine's first lady, Olena Zelenska, was welcomed in Warsaw with military honors.

Poland's President Andrzej Duda also awarded Zelenskiy with Poland's oldest and highest civilian distinction, The Order of the White Eagle, citing his attitude and bravery in Ukraine.

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05 April 2023, 16:05