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White House accuses Russia of targeting US citizens

The White House accused Russia on Thursday of targeting US citizens and assured that it is in contact with the government of Vladimir Putin after the arrest of journalist Evan Gershkovich.

The fact that the Russian government is targeting US citizens is unacceptable. We condemn the detention of Mr. Gershkovich in the strongest terms.” said the White House spokeswoman, Karine Jean-Pierrethrough a statement.

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The Lefortovo court in Moscow ordered this Thursday two months of preventive detention for Gershkovich, an American journalist for The Wall Street Journal detained in Russia for alleged espionage.

According to a source from the security services quoted by the TASS agency, the reporter, who could be sentenced to 20 years in prison, has pleaded not guilty before the judge.

A photograph taken on July 24, 2021 shows journalist Evan Gershkovich. An American reporter for The Wall Street Journal newspaper has been detained in Russia for espionage, Russian news agencies reported on Thursday, citing FSB security services. (Photo: Dimitar DILKOFF / AFP)

Jean-Pierre explained that the US government is “deeply concerned” by the “disturbing reports” and specified that White House and State Department officials they spoke to the Wall Street Journal as well as his family.

The State Department has been in direct contact with the Russian government on this matter, including actively working to secure consular access for Mr. Gershkovich.” said Jean-Pierre in a statement in which he condemned “the continuous attacks and the repression of the Russian Executive against journalists and the freedom of the press”.

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I want to strongly reiterate that the Americans they should heed the US government’s warning not to travel to Russia. U.S. citizens residing in or traveling to Russia should depart immediately, as the State Department continues to advise.” the spokeswoman said.

The Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, stressed in another statement that his cabinet’s highest priority is the safety of Americans abroad, and condemned the “repeated attempts by the Kremlin to intimidate, suppress and punish journalists and civil society voices.”

Source: Elcomercio

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