Russia's grave warning: United States threats over Evan Gershkovich arrest will 'reap whirlwind'

The WSJ denied that Gershkovich was a spy.
The WSJ denied that Gershkovich was a spy. Photo credit: Getty Images.

Russia said on Friday that if the United States threatened Moscow over its arrest of Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reporter Evan Gershkovich, it would reap a "whirlwind", the state-owned news agency RIA reported.

U.S. President Joe Biden urged Moscow on Friday to "Let him go", after his administration said on Thursday it was unacceptable for Russia to target U.S. citizens and urged all Americans in Russia to leave at once.

The WSJ denied that Gershkovich was a spy and, in an opinion column, the WSJ's editorial board wrote: "Expelling Russia's ambassador to the U.S., as well as all Russian journalists working here, would be the minimum to expect."

However, Biden said expelling Russian diplomats was "not the plan right now".

Speaking on the "60 Minutes" programme of Russia's flagship Rossiya 1 channel, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the United States had made no attempt to understand what had happened to Gershkovich.

"They immediately turn to threats, reprisals against Russian journalists. If this logic continues in the public space, they will reap a whirlwind," Zakharova said.

Both Zakharova and Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday that Gershkovich had been "caught red-handed" but offered no evidence to back up their assertion.

Gershkovich pleaded "not guilty" on Thursday as a court remanded him in pre-trial detention for two months.