BBC journalist said Russia was expelling her and had told her she could never return, describing it as "devastating" treatment that showed the country she reported on for years was turning inwards. This is reported by Reuters.
In an unusual move at a time of already poor bilateral ties, Russia said Sarah Rainsford - one of the British broadcaster's two English-language Moscow correspondents - was being sent home after London's refusal to give visas to Russian journalists.
In a BBC interview, Rainsford said she was shocked by the decision which she felt was part of a wider diplomatic game at a time when Russia's ties with the West were on the slide.
The move not to renew her Russian visa beyond the end of this month looked like a technical one, but was not, she said.
"I am being expelled," she said. "I have been told (by Russian officials) that I cannot come back ever. It's devastating personally."
Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova denied the reporter had to leave Russia for good.
"She was not told that," Zakharova wrote on social media
Russia says it warned London many times that it would respond to what it calls visa-related persecution of Russian journalists in Britain.