WNBA star Brittney Griner, who returned to the U.S in December after spending 10 months in Russian custody, has urged President Biden to “use every tool possible” to bring home Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who is being detained on the accusation of spying.
“Our hearts are filled with great concern for Evan Gershkovitch and his family since Evan’s detainment in Russia,” Griner wrote in a statement signed by herself and her wife Cherelle that was posted on Instagram Saturday. “We must do everything in our power to bring him and all Americans home.”
Gershkovich, 31, who works at the Journal’s Moscow bureau, was detained on a reporting trip last week after Russia’s Federal Security Bureau accused him of trying to obtain classified information, saying they caught the U.S. citizen spying “red-handed.”
According to the Journal, the agency claimed that the reporter, who is accredited to work as a journalist in Russia by the country’s foreign ministry, was “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.”
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The Journal denied in a statement Russia’s allegations of espionage and condemned Gershkovitch’s detainment, which marks the first time a U.S. correspondent has been detained on spying accusations since the Cold War.
“The Wall Street Journal vehemently denies the allegations from the FSB and seeks the immediate release of our trusted and dedicated reporter, Evan Gershkovich,” the Journal said. “We stand in solidarity with Evan and his family.”
This week, Biden called on Russia to release Gershkovich, saying, “Let him go,” when asked about his detainment.
Griner’s statement also expressed her gratitude to President Biden and his administration for their “deep commitment to rescue Americans,” pointing to recent successful efforts to rescue Jeff Woodke and Paul Rusesabagina.
“Every American who is taken is ours to fight for and every American returned is a win for us all,” she continued. “That is why we call on all of our supporters to both celebrate the wins and encourage the administration to continue to use every tool possible to bring Evan and all wrongfully detained Americans home.”
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