Putting on a brave face: Wall Street Journal reporter accused of espionage in Russia smiles and jokes with guards after learning he will remain behind bars for at least another two months

  • Evan Gershkovich, 32, was detained in March while on a reporting trip to the Russian city of Yekaterinburg, about 1,200 miles east of Moscow.

The American reporter jailed in Moscow on espionage charges a month after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began will spend at least two more months behind bars after a court extended his pretrial detention on Friday.

US Consul General Stuart Wilson attended the hearing, which took place behind closed doors because authorities say details of the criminal case against the American journalist are classified.

In a video shared by state news agency Ria Novosti, Evan Gershkovich was shown listening to the verdict while standing in a courtroom wearing a hooded top and light blue jeans.

He was pictured a short time later appearing to smile and joke with guards as he was walked to a prison van to leave court.

Gershkovich (32) was detained in March while on a reporting trip to the Russian city of Yekaterinburg, about 1,200 miles east of Moscow.

Russia’s Federal Security Service claimed that the reporter, ‘at the behest of the US side, collected information constituting a state secret about the activities of one of the enterprises of the Russian military-industrial complex.’

Evan Gershkovich, 32, stands inside a fence for defendants during a court hearing in Moscow

Evan Gershkovich, 32, stands inside a fence for defendants during a court hearing in Moscow

Gershkovich puts on a brave face as he smiles with guards, right, being escorted from Lefortovsky Court in Moscow, Russia.

Gershkovich puts on a brave face as he smiles with guards, right, being escorted from Lefortovsky Court in Moscow, Russia.

Gershkovich, a Wall Street Journal reporter detained on espionage charges, will remain in jail until the end of March, Russian state news agencies reported

Gershkovich, a Wall Street Journal reporter detained on espionage charges, will remain in jail until the end of March, Russian state news agencies reported

Gershkovich and the Journal deny the allegations, and the US government has stated that he is being unlawfully detained. Russian authorities have not provided any evidence to support the espionage charges.

During his end-of-year news conference in December, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Moscow was in talks with the United States about bringing home both Gershkovich and the jailed American Paul Whelanand that the Kremlin hopes to “find a solution” although “it is not easy.”

Putin was responding to a question about an offer made by the Biden administration to secure the two men’s release. The US State Department it reported in December, without providing detailsand said Russia rejected it.

“We have contacts on this matter with our American partners, there is a dialogue on this issue. It’s not easy, I won’t go into details now. But in general, it seems to me that we speak a language that each of us understands,’ Putin said.

“I hope we will find a solution,” he continued. “But, I repeat, the American side must hear us and make a decision that will satisfy the Russian side as well.”

The Russian Foreign Ministry said it would consider a swap for Gershkovich only after a verdict in his trial. In Russia, espionage trials can last for more than a year.

Gershkovich is the first American reporter to be charged with espionage in Russia since 1986, when Nicholas Daniloff, a Moscow correspondent for US News and World Report, was arrested by the KGB. Gershkovich is being held in Moscow’s Lefortovo prison, notorious for its harsh conditions.

Analysts said Moscow may be using jailed Americans as bargaining chips after US-Russia tensions soared when Russia sent troops to Ukraine.

At least two US citizens arrested in Russia in recent years, including WNBA star Brittney Grinerwas exchanged for Russians imprisoned in the US