The Russians grab a American journalist that operated in Russia….
The Russian authorities said on Thursday that they had detained an American journalist for The Wall Street Journal and accused him of espionage, marking a new escalation in Moscow’s tensions with the United States and with foreign media organizations since the start of its invasion of Ukraine.
The journalist, Evan Gershkovich, a correspondent based in Moscow, is believed to be the first American reporter to be held as an accused spy in Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union. His detention comes as relations between Russia and the United Statescontinue to deteriorate, with Washington leading a coalition of nations supporting Ukraine’s military defense and pushing for Moscow’s further diplomatic and economic isolation.
The Russian Federal Security Service, or F.S.B., said in a statementthat Mr. Gershkovich “is suspected of spying in the interests of the American government” and had been detained in Yekaterinburg, a city about 900 miles east of Moscow in the Ural Mountains. The F.S.B. is a successor agency to the Soviet-era K.G.B.
“It was established that E. Gershkovich, acting on the instructions of the American side, collected information constituting a state secret about the activities of one of the enterprises of the Russian military-industrial complex,” the F.S.B. said. Hours after the F.S.B.’s announcement, the Kremlin endorsed Mr. Gershkovich’s arrest….
His real name is Sergey Cherkasov and he had spent nearly a decade building the fictitious Ferreira persona, according to officials and court records. His “team” was a tight circle of Russian handlers suddenly poised to have a deep-cover spy in the U.S. capital, positioned to forge connections in every corner of the American security establishment, from the State Department to the CIA.
Using the access he gained during his two years in Washington, Cherkasov filed reports to his bosses in Russia’s military intelligence service, the GRU, on how senior officials in the Biden administration were responding to the Russian military buildup before the war in Ukraine, according to an FBI affidavit.
After he graduated, he came close to achieving a more consequential penetration when he was offered a position at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. He was due to start a six-month internship there last year — just as the court began investigating Russian war crimes in Ukraine — only to be turned away by Dutch authorities acting on information relayed by the FBI, according to Western security officials. Officials in the Netherlands put him on a plane back to Brazil, where he was arrested upon landing and is now serving a 15-year prison sentence for document fraud related to his fake identity….
Is the American reporter just swap bait?
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