Russia Extends US Reporter’s Detention on Spying Charges

(Bloomberg) -- A Moscow court on Tuesday extended the detention of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich by another three months on allegations of espionage, in a case that’s stoked tensions between Russia and the US.

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Gershkovich, 31, will remain in custody until Aug. 30, the Lefortovo court ordered in response to a request by investigators at a closed-door hearing, the Interfax news service reported.

He’s the first American reporter to be held on allegations of espionage since the Cold War. The Federal Security Service, known as the FSB, detained Gershkovich on March 29 in the city of Yekaterinburg in Russia’s Urals Mountains region and accused him of spying, a charge that carries a 20-year maximum sentence in Russia.

He was brought to the Lefortovo prison in Moscow, where he’s currently being held.

The Kremlin said he was caught “red handed,” but has provided no evidence. The Wall Street Journal denies the allegations.

Putin Approved Arrest of US Reporter as Hardliners’ Clout Grows

The State Department has formally determined that Gershkovich has been “wrongfully detained,” which opens the way for the US to negotiate on his behalf.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said earlier that the Kremlin was willing to negotiate a swap involving Gershkovich, but only after his trial is concluded.

(Adds US Embassy tweet in penultimate pargraph)

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