An American journalist from the Wall Street Journal is being held in Russia after visiting there to write about the feared Wagner Group
- Ivan Gershkovich was working in Yekaterinburg
- Local reports said he was removed from a restaurant and put into a pickup truck
An American journalist has been arrested in Russia, where he was reporting on the terrifying Wagner mercenary group that was instrumental in Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
Local reports said early this morning that Ivan Gershkovich, a reporter for The Wall Street Journal who was working in Yekaterinburg, was taken from a restaurant and put in a pickup truck.
The journalist’s colleagues said that he had not returned from Yekaterinburg to Moscow and had stopped communicating.
His colleague Dmitry Kolesev said he was covering attitudes towards the war in the city as well as the notorious battle group, the Private Military Company (PMC) Wagner.
In a post roughly translated from Russian, he said: “Ivan traveled to Yekaterinburg to write about the attitude towards the war and to recruit locals into PMC Wagner.”
Eyewitnesses reported that people in civilian clothes took a man from the Bukowski Grill on Karl Liebknecht Street, put him in a minibus and drove away.
It was not possible to examine the detainee’s face because it was covered by the neck of his jacket.
Sources confirmed to the local publication It’s my city that a Wall Street Journal journalist had been arrested, but it was not clear why.
It is believed that his work made him a target as the Kremlin cracks down on dissent against the regime and the war being waged in Ukraine.
Russia has been expelling foreign journalists from its territory since before the war, but arrests in this way are rare.
Meanwhile, Russian journalists, whose coverage is seen as against Putin’s regime and the war, have been beaten, arrested and arrested.
In September, more than two dozen journalists were arrested over reporting on protests against the Kremlin’s military mobilization in Ukraine.
The head of the Russian Wagner mercenary group admitted, on Wednesday, that the fighting for the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut inflicted heavy damage on his forces as well as on the Ukrainian side.
Bakhmut, a small city in the east of the country that has been the target of a Russian offensive for months, has seen fierce fighting and destruction in what has become the war’s longest and bloodiest battle.
“Today’s battle for Bakhmut practically destroyed the Ukrainian army and, unfortunately, severely damaged the Wagner PMC,” said the head of the Wagner company, Yevgeny Prigozhin, in an audio message.
Russian officials say their forces are still holding ground in street-by-street fighting inside Bakhmut, but have so far failed to encircle it and force the Ukrainians to withdraw, as it seemed weeks ago.