Apr 5, 2023 - World

Blinken: "No doubt" WSJ reporter Evan Gershkovich was wrongfully detained

Antony Blinken holds a press conference at the NATO headquarters in Brussels on April 5. Photo: Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters Wednesday that he has "no doubt" that Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich has been wrongfully detained by Russia.

Driving the news: Russian authorities detained Gershkovich last week on spying charges, marking the first time Russia has detained a U.S. journalist on espionage charges since the Cold War.

State of play: Speaking at a press conference at the NATO headquarters in Brussels, Blinken said the State Department was "deliberately" and "expeditiously" working through a formal determination of wrongful detention in Gershkovich's case.

  • “In my own mind, there’s no doubt that he’s being wrongfully detained by Russia," Blinken said, adding that he said the same to his counterpart, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, over the weekend.
  • When speaking to Lavrov, Blinken said he had "insisted that Evan be released immediately."
  • A formal determination of wrongful detainment would transfer supervision over Gershkovich's case to a specialized State Department section that works on negotiating releases, per AP.

Zoom out: Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Anatoly Antonov was summoned to the State Department on March 30 over the detainment, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby told reporters Wednesday.

  • White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre called the charges against Gershkovich "ridiculous" during a press briefing Tuesday.
  • "Evan is not a spy.  Evan has never been a spy.  Evan has never worked for the U.S. government.  And he is an independent journalist employed by the Wall Street Journal, as you all know," she added.
Go deeper