The Wall Street Journal calls on Moscow to immediately release its correspondent, and the Kremlin reassures foreign correspondents "unless they are spies"

The Wall Street Journal demanded – on Saturday – the immediate release of its Moscow correspondent Ivan Gershkovich, who was arrested by the Russian Federal Security Service on charges of espionage, while the Kremlin tried to reassure foreign correspondents that they could continue working in Russia without fear as long as they remained "They do not use their positions as a cover to perform espionage missions."

"Evan's case is an extreme affront to a free press, and should outrage all free individuals and governments around the world," the newspaper said in a statement posted on Twitter.

And the Russian presidential spokesman (Kremlin) Dmitry Peskov said on Friday that there is no need for foreign correspondents in Russia to be afraid if they perform their declared duties, and do not use their job as a cover to perform espionage missions.

"All journalists who have valid accreditation here, I mean foreign journalists, can continue and actually continue their journalistic activity in the country; they don't face any restrictions and work well," he told a news conference.

Peskov pointed out that Ivan Gershkovich was carrying out espionage work "under the cover" of the press, adding that the investigation is still ongoing in his case.

The spokesman also said that there was "no reason" to expel all Russian journalists from Western countries in response to Gershkovitch's arrest.

Russia has not published any evidence to support the charges, which the newspaper denied, and this is the first case of its kind against an American reporter since the end of the Cold War.

And Friday, US President Joe Biden called on Russia to release the Wall Street Journal reporter.

The arrest of Gershkovitch, 31, a correspondent accredited in Yekaterinburg, Russia, 6 years ago, on charges of "espionage for the US government," according to the Russian Federal Security Service, which the US administration said were false.

In his latest report from Moscow, published earlier this week, Gershkovich focused on the slowdown of the Russian economy amid Western sanctions imposed when Russian forces launched their operation in Ukraine last year.

A Moscow court ordered Gershkovich to be held until at least May 29, ahead of his trial.

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