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Russian, US foreign ministers discuss arrest of WSJ reporter over spying charges

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his US counterpart Antony Blinken on Sunday discussed over the phone the recent arrest of Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reporter Evan Gershkovich on suspicion of espionage.

“Blinken’s attention was drawn to the need to respect the decisions of Russian authorities, taken in accordance with the law and international obligations of the Russian Federation,” a statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry read.

Attempts by Washington and Western media to give the arrest a “political coloring” was unacceptable, it added.

Lavrov told Blinken that Gershkovich was caught “red-handed” while trying to obtain secret information “under the guise of doing journalism.”

“In the light of the established facts of the illegal activities of the US citizen, whose detention the US Embassy in Moscow was notified in accordance with the established procedure, his further fate will be determined by court,” the statement added.

Gershkovich was detained in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg on charges of “spying in the interests of the American government,” according to the Russian Federal Security Service on Thursday.

The WSJ said it “vehemently denies” the allegations against him and called for his immediate release.

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