US demands release of Wall Street Journal reporter after detention extended in Russia

The US demanded the release of Wall Street Journal (WSJ) correspondent Evan Gershkovich on Tuesday after his detention in Russia was extended for three months.

"We continue to call for his immediate release as well as for the immediate release of Paul Whelan," State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said at a news conference.

He said claims against the reporter are "baseless" and urged Russia to comply with its obligation to provide consular access.

Gershkovich was arrested by the Federal Security Service (FSB) in Yekaterinburg in late March and has been detained on espionage charges, a claim the WSJ "vehemently' denied.

US officials have repeatedly demanded Gershkovich's immediate release, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken designating him as 'wrongfully detained.'

Russian authorities have argued that Gershkovich was caught 'red-handed' and said his case will be dealt with according to the law.

The Russian Foreign Ministry announced last Friday that the US Embassy's request for a consular visit with Gershkovich was once again rejected 'in response to the refusal to issue visas to Russian journalists' during Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's trip to UN headquarters in New York last month.

Source: Anadolu Agency