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Dozens of states criticize Russia for media ‘crackdown’ after reporter arrest

FILE PHOTO: Reporter for U.S. newspaper The Wall Street Journal Evan Gershkovich appears in this handout picture taken in Moscow, Russia, 2019. The Moscow Times/Handout via REUTERS

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) -The United States and more than 40 other countries said in a joint statement on Monday that they were deeply concerned over Russia’s detainment of a Wall Street Journal reporter and protested Moscow’s “efforts to limit and intimidate the media.”

They also said in the statement, read to reporters at the United Nations by U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield: “We urge Russian Federation authorities to release those they hold on political grounds, and to end the draconian crackdown on freedom of expression, including against members of the media.”

Evan Gershkovich, who was hired by the Wall Street Journal shortly before Russia invaded Ukraine last year, was arrested last month in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg. It is the first time since 1986 that an American reporter has been held for alleged espionage in Russia.

When asked about the joint statement on Monday, Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said: “Only the court can decide if he’s guilty or not.”

On the accusation in the joint statement of a “draconian crackdown on freedom of expression” by Moscow, Russia’s Deputy U.N. Ambassador Dmitry Polyanskiy posted on Twitter: “That’s how interference into internal affairs looks like.”



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