According to state media, the Russian secret service FSB has arrested a correspondent for the renowned US newspaper "Wall Street Journal" in Yekaterinburg in the Urals on alleged espionage. The reporter, who was born in 1991, is suspected of "espionage in the interests of the American government," the FSB said on Thursday, according to the state agency TASS. Criminal proceedings have been initiated against him. The reporter collected information on the military-industrial complex in Russia on behalf of the US side, which constitutes a state secret. The Wall Street Journal has not yet reported on it.
"The foreigner was arrested in Yekaterinburg while trying to obtain secret information," the FSB said. Media had previously reported that the reporter had disappeared. He had therefore tried to write a report on the attitude of the population to the recruitment attempts by Wagner's private army.
Americans are repeatedly suspected of espionage in Russia. This is likely to be the first case of a journalist officially accredited to the Russian Foreign Ministry. In the wake of the Ukraine war, Russia recently tightened its stance against Western journalists. The Russian opposition spoke of a "hostage situation".
"Putin is ready to use any method to put pressure on the West," said the team of jailed Kremlin opponent Alexei Navalny. In the past, Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin had time and again freed Russian criminals imprisoned in the United States through exchanges with Americans convicted in Moscow.