Evan Gershkovich
Evan GershkovichREUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina

Russia's espionage trial of detained Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich will be held behind closed doors, the trial court said on Monday, according to Reuters.

Gershkovich, a 32-year-old American son of Jewish immigrants from the Soviet Union, has been held on espionage charges since March 29, 2023, when he was arrested by Russian agents while on a reporting trip in the city of Yekaterinburg.

Gershkovich, the United States government, and The Wall Street Journal deny the allegations, for which the Russian government has not provided evidence. The US government considers him to be wrongfully held.

The FSB, the main successor to the Soviet-era KGB, said Gershkovich was trying to collect secrets about Uralvagonzavod, a Russian defense enterprise that is one of the world's biggest battle tank producers, for the CIA.

"The process will take place behind closed doors," the Sverdlovsk Regional Court in Yekaterinburg said, according to Reuters.

"According to the investigation authorities, the American journalist of The Wall Street Journal, Gershkovich, on the instructions of the CIA, in March 2023, collected secret information in the Sverdlovsk region about the activities of the defense enterprise JSC NPK Uralvagonzavod for the production and repair of military equipment."

The first hearing is scheduled for June 26, the court said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested in February that Gershkovich could be swapped for Vadim Krasikov, convicted of the 2019 murder of a Chechen dissident in Berlin, although he did not mention Krasikov by name.