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Wall Street Journal editor-in-chief condemns reporter's arrest in Russia: 'Total outrage'

The Wall Street Journal’s editor-in-chief spoke out against American reporter Evan Gershkovich’s detainment in Russia, Monday, calling the arrest “completely unacceptable.”

Top U.S. officials are facing growing calls to secure the release of the journalist after the longtime reporter was detained and accused of foreign espionage. According to Russian state news agency TASS, Gershkovich will be held in detainment until May 29. 

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“It’s a total outrage,” Emma Tucker told “Fox & Friends”. “He is an accredited journalist. He had a visa. He had accreditation from the Russian government. He was out doing his job, and it’s completely unacceptable for journalists to not be able to operate safely.”

Russian officials said Gershovich was arrested for “trying to obtain secret information” related to “the enterprises of the Russian military-industrial complex.”

President Biden demanded Russia release the veteran journalist last week during a press gaggle outside the White House, but also noted there was a “process” involved in doing so. 

“Let him go,” the president said of Gershovich’s arrest. 

Secretary of State Antony Blinken reportedly spoke with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov over the weekend, urging officials to release the journalist immediately. 

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Since Gershkovich’s arrest, The Wall Street Journal pulled its Moscow bureau chief out of Russia. Tucker noted there is a plan in place for others connected to the publication that are still in the country. 

She commended the State Department for its efforts to secure the journalist’s release. 

“Every level of government has got… behind this,” Tucker said. “We’ll see where things happen next. We’re hoping that they will label him as being wrongfully detained sooner rather than later, because I think when that happens, things could move more swiftly.”

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Tucker said she has spoken to Gershkovich’s parents, who are “distraught” over the lack of communication and little information they have regarding their son. 

New York Times reporter Michael Schwirtz, who is friends with Gershkovich, also slammed the detainment, calling the arrest “absurd.”

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“All of us know Evan, who has been a reporter for The Wall Street Journal for many, many years in Moscow,” he said during “Fox & Friends First” on Monday. “He’s done stellar work. He’s one of the few reporters who have gone back to Russia since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022 and has been doing incredible work since then under increasingly difficult conditions, and for the Russian foreign ministry and the Russian government, to accuse him of espionage is just absurd.”

The espionage allegations have been largely dismissed as bogus, at a time when bilateral tensions between Washington and Moscow sit at an all-time high. 

“I can’t say that I know exactly what Evan was working on at the moment that he was detained, but I think whatever that was, was beside the point,” Schwirtz said. “Russia has a history of detaining people, detaining Americans, for use in its own sort of geopolitical policy to use as bargaining chips with the West and with the United States.” 

Wall Street Journal reporter detained in Russia on espionage charges Video

“So whatever it was he was detained for, it wasn’t because of the work that he was doing,” he continued. 

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Tucker described Gershkovich as an “all-American boy” who was passionate about his Russian heritage, and left his job in New York to immerse himself in the culture of his familial roots. 

But Russia, unfortunately, has become “increasingly” dangerous for journalists, among other places around the world, she noted. 

“The safety of our journalists comes first, but at the same time, we remain committed to reporting fairly and squarely from all over the world,” Tucker said. 

Fox News’ Brian Flood contributed to this report. 

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