WSJ reporter Evan Gershkovich will stand trial in Russia on espionage charges. Here’s what else we know.

FILE - Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich stands in a glass cage in a courtroom at the First Appeals Court of General Jurisdiction in Moscow, Russia, April 23, 2024. Gershkovich, who has been jailed for over a year in Russia on espionage charges, will stand trial in the city of Yekaterinburg, authorities said Thursday June 13, 2024. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)
Evan Gershkovich stands in a glass cage in a courtroom at the First Appeals Court of General Jurisdiction in Moscow, Russia, April 23, 2024. (Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP)

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who was arrested in Russia on espionage charges last year, will stand trial in Yekaterinburg, a city about 1,200 miles east of Moscow, where he was apprehended, according to local authorities.

For the first time since Gershkovich was detained in March 2023, details of the accusations against him were revealed in an indictment that claims he was gathering secret information on behalf of the CIA regarding a Russian facility that produces and repairs military equipment.

There was no indication of when Gershkovich's trial would begin, but an espionage trial in Russia could take many months, according to the Journal. If convicted, the reporter faces up to 20 years in prison.

The American journalist, the Journal and the U.S. all deny the espionage charges.

“Russia's latest move toward a sham trial is, while expected, deeply disappointing and still no less outrageous," said Emma Tucker, the Journal's editor in chief. “Journalism is not a crime. Evan's case is an assault on free press. We had hoped to avoid this moment and now expect the U.S. government to redouble efforts to get Evan released."

The State Department denounced the charges, stating that there is "absolutely zero credibility" to them. "We have been clear from the start that Evan has done nothing wrong. He should have never been arrested in the first place," said State Department spokesman Matthew Miller.

On Dec. 5, 2023, the State Department said that the Biden administration made a new offer to secure the release of both Gershkovich and Paul Whelan, another American detained in Russia, but Moscow rejected it. The State Department didn’t reveal the details of the offer or why Moscow might have rejected it.

Following Putin’s remarks on Dec. 14, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said, “We would welcome them engaging seriously with us to obtain the release of Evan Gershkovich and Paul Whelan, but so far we have seen them refuse to take us up on our proposals, and we hope that they will change the way they’ve handled this going forward.”

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich
Gershkovich at an earlier Moscow court hearing, Oct. 10, 2023. (Evgenia Novozhenina/Reuters)

Gershkovich, 32, is a reporter for the Wall Street Journal and was accredited to work as a journalist by the Russian Foreign Ministry, according to the Journal.

He was detained by the country's Federal Security Service on March 29, 2023, while on assignment in Yekaterinburg, just a day after he co-authored an article on Russia’s declining economy following its invasion of Ukraine.

At the time Gershkovich was accused of espionage, Russian authorities didn't provided detailed evidence to support the accusation. He is being held in Moscow's Lefortovo Prison, infamous for its harsh conditions.

Paul Whelan, right
Paul Whelan, right, a former U.S. Marine accused of espionage by Russia, June 15, 2020. (Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP via Getty Images)

Whelan, a former U.S. Marine, is a corporate security executive from Michigan who holds U.S., Canadian, British and Irish citizenships. He has been detained by Russian authorities for over five years — since Dec. 28, 2018 — and was imprisoned on espionage charges for his alleged involvement in an intelligence operation. He, his family and the U.S. have said the allegation is false. Whelan said he was in Moscow to attend a friend’s wedding.

In 2020, Whelan was sentenced to 16 years in a remote prison labor camp in Mordovia, where he has been detained ever since. “If I had known that there would be any sort of problem, I would never have come here,” Whelan told CNN via phone from the prison camp in December.

Whelan also called on President Biden to “please use every resource available to secure my release as you would do if your own son had been taken hostage.”

Back in July 2022, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said a proposal was made to Moscow for the release of Whelan and WNBA star Brittney Griner. Griner was released in a prisoner swap in December 2022, but Whelan wasn’t part of the deal.

Whelan told the BBC last December that he feels like the U.S. has left him behind.

"A serious betrayal. It's extremely frustrating," Whelan said. "I know that the U.S. has come up with all sorts of proposals — serious proposals — but it's not what the Russians are after. So they keep going back and forth. The only problem is, it's my life that's draining away while they do this."