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Russia tells BBC journalist to leave the country

Source : 112 Ukraine

It is an unusual move that signals a further deterioration in already poor ties between London and Moscow
19:44, 14 August 2021

BBC correspondent Sarah Rainsford
Open source

Russia has told a BBC journalist working in Moscow to leave the country by the end of this month in retaliation for what it called London's discrimination against Russian journalists working in Britain, Reuters reports.

In an unusual move that signals a further deterioration in already poor ties between London and Moscow, the Rossiya-24 TV channel said that Sarah Rainsford, one of the British broadcaster's two English-language Moscow correspondents, would be going home in what it called "a landmark deportation".

The step, a de facto expulsion, follows a crackdown before parliamentary elections in September on Russian-language media at home that the authorities judge to be backed by malign foreign interests intent on stoking unrest.

"Being expelled from Russia, a country I've lived in for almost 1/3 of my life - and reported for years - is devastating. Thank you for all your kind messages of support," Rainsford wrote on Twitter.

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Rossiya-24 said Russian authorities had decided against renewing Rainsford's accreditation to work as a foreign journalist in Moscow beyond the end of this month when her visa expires.

The move was a response to London's refusal to renew or issue visas to Russian journalists in Britain, it said.

The channel cited Britain's treatment of state-backed Russian broadcaster RT and of online state news outlet Sputnik, saying neither could get accredited in Britain to cover international events.

"Sarah Rainsford is going home. According to our experts, this correspondent of Moscow's BBC bureau will not have her visa extended because Britain, in the media sphere, has crossed all our red lines," Rossiya-24 said.

Rainsford did not reply to a request for comment. Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the Russian foreign ministry (MFA), said BBC representatives had been at the ministry in recent days and that everything had been explained to them in detail.

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