Evan Gershkovich
© Sputnik / Ilya PitalevFILE PHOTO: Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich.
Russia's prosecutor general has accused Wall Street Journal journalist Evan Gershkovich of attempting to obtain military secrets for the CIA, it was announced on Thursday.

Investigators claimed in a statement that they have evidence proving the US citizen was acting on behalf of the foreign intelligence agency when he tried to collect classified information about Uralvagonzavod, a major Russian producer of tanks and armored vehicles, in Ekaterinburg in March 2023.

The case, which was compiled based on materials provided by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), has been sent for trial at a court in the Urals region of Sverdlovsk, it added.

The court has jurisdiction as Uralvagonzavod is located in the region and the alleged crimes were committed on its soil.

Gershkovich and his employer have denied the Russian allegations and have claimed he is being held unlawfully. The newspaper has called on the US government to retaliate and has reportedly been told that Washington is looking for "creative solutions" to resolve the situation.

American officials have reportedly contacted other governments about potentially taking custody of prisoners who they believe may be of interest to Russia in a swap for Gershkovich. Brazil, Norway, Germany, and an unnamed former Soviet bloc country have been approached with such requests, according to Western media.

Former Fox News host Tucker Carlson asked Russian President Vladimir Putin about Gershkovich during an interview in February, claiming that his fellow US journalist was "obviously not a spy." Putin responded by saying that "getting classified information in secret is called espionage," and that Gershkovich was "caught red-handed when he was receiving this information."

Moscow has no objections in principle to releasing Gershkovich eventually but won't do so simply as a goodwill gesture because it has already "exhausted" such reserves in dealing with Washington, Putin added.