American journalist Gershkovich will be tried in Russia for espionage

Evan Gershkovich

Photo: Associated Press

American journalist Evan Gershkovich will be tried in Russia on charges of espionage, Russian prosecutors have said, "BBC" reports. 

The "Wall Street Journal" journalist has been accused of collecting "secret information" from a Russian tank factory "at the behest of the CIA". 

Prosecutors say he will appear in court in Yekaterinburg - the city where he was arrested in March last year while reporting on the war in Ukraine. 

Gershkovich, his medium and the US have denied the allegations. Washington has officially said that Gershkovich "was wrongly arrested". 

Russian prosecutors said Thursday that an investigation had established that the journalist had collected "secret information related to the production and repair of military equipment" from a Russian tank factory. 

The prosecution accuses him of "carrying out illegal actions using possible conspiratorial methods" and of having acted "on the instructions of the CIA". 

Since his arrest, Gershkovich had remained in custody in Moscow, over 1600 kilometers from Yekaterinburg. 

He has spent more than a year behind bars and if found guilty faces 20 years in prison. 

His arrest marked the first time Russia has charged an American journalist with espionage since Soviet times. 

The Wall Street Journal has previously accused Moscow of "arresting Americans in order to be able to trade them at a later date." 

Russian officials are having a hard time hiding the fact that they see the American journalist as a bargaining chip.

Earlier this year, in an interview with Tucker Carlson, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he believed a deal could be reached to release Gershkovich.