A spy in the service of the US who collected information on the Russian military industry: this, for Moscow, is Evan Gershkovich, a thirty-two-year-old American journalist of the Wall Street Journal arrested by the internal intelligence services (FSB) in Yekaterinburg , in the Ural region.

An unprecedented case since the times of the Soviet Union that falls on the already very tense Russian-American relations. The White House condemned the arrest "with the utmost firmness", stating that "it is unacceptable that the Russian government targets American citizens" and urging all compatriots to leave Russia immediately .

Gershkovich, the son of Russian immigrants in the US and for many years engaged in journalism in Russia, pleaded not guilty when he appeared before the Lefortovo District Court in Moscow, which at the end of a closed hearing decided to hold him under arrest at least until May 29 pending trial. He risks up to 20 years in prison , the WSJ has "vehemently" denied the accusations against him, asking for his "immediate release".

The journalist was stopped yesterday in the Bukovsky Grill restaurant in Yekaterinburg by some officers, who covered his head with a sweater and took him away . In these hours many are thinking about the possibility that Russia could use Gershkovich as a pawn in a prisoner exchange, such as the one that last December led to the release of the American basketball player Brittney Griner in exchange for the release of the Russian arms dealer Victor Bout .

Meanwhile , Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree on the spring call-up for military service that affects 147,000 people aged 18 to 27 .


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