Evan Gershkovich
Evan GershkovichREUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina

US Ambassador to Russia Lynne Tracy on Friday visited Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich in a Moscow prison, the embassy said, according to Reuters.

"He remains strong and is keeping up with the news - including his parents' appearance at the UN this week," the embassy posted on X, formerly Twitter.

Gershkovich was arrested on March 29 in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg on charges of espionage that carry up 20 years in prison. He, his newspaper and the US government all strongly deny the accusation.

In late August, a judge ruled that his pre-trial custody would be extended to November 30. Gershkovich has appealed the decision.

Gershkovich is the first US reporter to be accused of spying in Russia since the Cold War. Washington has accused Moscow of using him for "hostage diplomacy", at a time when relations between the two countries are at their worst point for more than 60 years because of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

No date has been set for Gershkovich's trial. His latest appeal against his detention is due to be heard next Tuesday, but previous ones have been rejected.

Tracy had visited him three times before. This week she also visited Paul Whelan, an American convicted of espionage in 2020 and serving 16 years in a Russian penal colony on spying charges that he too denies.

The United States has designated both men as "wrongfully detained", meaning it considers the charges against them to be bogus and politically motivated.

Since his arrest, Gershkovich has since been held in Moscow's notorious Lefortovo prison, famous for keeping inmates in near-total isolation.

In June, the United States House of Representatives voted unanimously to approve a resolution demanding that Russia release Gershkovich.

The congressional resolution, which is not binding, calls for Gershkovich to be released from prison immediately, and also demands that he be given full access to US consular staff until he is released.

(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Rosh Hashanah in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)