Russia’s Foreign Ministry has rejected a request by the U.S. for a consular visit to Evan Gershkovich, an American journalist for The Wall Street Journal, who is being held on espionage charges.
The request was denied on May 11th in response to the U.S. refusing to grant visas to Russian journalists who were supposed to accompany Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on his trip to the United Nations.
Gershkovich was arrested on March 29th by Russia’s security service on allegations of espionage. The journalist, his employer, and the U.S. government have all denied the charges. He is the first U.S. correspondent since the Cold War to be detained in Russia on such charges. His arrest has caused concern among journalists in the country and sparked outrage in the West.
The United States has condemned Gershkovich’s detention, declaring it to be “wrongful” and demanding his immediate release. However, Russia has remained defiant, with Lavrov warning that Moscow “will not forget and will not forgive” the U.S. refusal to grant visas to Russian journalists.
The denial of the consular visit follows a protest note submitted by Russia’s Foreign Ministry, in which they accused the U.S. diplomatic mission of “provocative conduct” for thwarting the issuance of visas to Russian journalists who were supposed to accompany Lavrov on his trip to New York as part of Russia’s presidency of the U.N. Security Council.
In its statement, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that the U.S. Embassy had been informed of the decision to decline the consular visit to Gershkovich and that other possible retaliatory measures were being considered. The statement did not elaborate on what these measures might entail.
“A protest note was presented in connection with the provocative conduct of the U.S. diplomatic mission, which thwarted the issuing of visas to mass media representatives from the press pool of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who were supposed to accompany him on his trip to New York as part of Russia’s presidency of the U.N. Security Council,”
“The U.S. Embassy was informed in this connection that its request for consular access to U.S. citizen Gershkovich, detained on suspicion of espionage, on May 11 was declined,” the ministry statement said. “Other possible retaliatory measures, about which the U.S. side will be duly notified, are being considered.” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.