Russia charged detained American Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich with espionage Friday, according to Russian state media reports. A Journal spokeswoman said the charges were false.

“As we’ve said from the beginning, these charges are categorically false and unjustified, and we continue to demand Evan’s immediate release,” the spokeswoman said in a statement.

Gershkovich appeared before a judge in Moscow and plead not guilty to “acting on instructions of the American side, collected information amounting to a state secret about the activities of one of the enterprises of the Russian military-industrial complex,” according to a report from RT, an English-language Russian state media outlet.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre called the charges “ridiculous.”

“Evan is not a spy,” she said at a briefing Tuesday. “Evan has never been a spy. Evan has never worked for the U.S. government and he is an independent journalist employed by the Wall Street Journal.”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said at a press conference Wednesday “there’s no doubt” Gershkovich was being wrongfully detained by Russia and said the U.S. was working on a formal wrongful detention determination for his case.

Russia’s handling of Gershkovich has been condemned widely in Washington, including by Senate leaders from both parties. In a bipartisan joint statement, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said they condemned the wrongful detention.

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“Let there be no mistake: journalism is not a crime,” the Senate leaders said in their statement. “We demand the baseless, fabricated charges against Mr. Gershkovich be dropped and he be immediately released.”

Gershkovich has worked as a journalist in Russia since 2017, first for the Moscow Times, a Russia-based English-language news outlet, and then for the French news agency Agence France-Presse, before joining the Journal in 2022, and he was accredited by Russia’s foreign ministry to work as a journalist in the country, according to the Journal.