Russia: BBC journalist expelled from Moscow

An undated photo released by the BBC press office of its correspondent in Russia, Sarah Rainsford.

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BBC reporter Sarah Rainsford has to leave the country.

It was announced by Russian state television on Thursday evening, August 12.

For Moscow, it would be a response to the policy pursued by the British against Russian journalists in the United Kingdom.

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Sarah Rainsford, one of the two English-speaking BBC journalists in Moscow, has one month to leave the territory.

Russian authorities have not renewed his work visa which expires at the end of August.

This was announced by Rossiya-24, a Russian television station funded by the Kremlin. 

An expulsion described as " 

symbolic 

" and based on reciprocity.

Because Moscow considers that London has discriminated against its journalists in the United Kingdom too much - including those in the RT and Sputnik media - by refusing to grant them work visas.

On the Telegram messaging app, the Kremlin diplomacy spokeswoman felt it was up to the BBC to announce it. 

Russian authorities have long criticized Western media coverage of their country.

But expulsions of journalists remain very rare.

It should be remembered that relations between Great Britain and Russia have been particularly strained since the

Skripal affair

, London accusing Moscow of having used radioactive products to poison its opponents who had taken refuge in the United Kingdom.

In any case, Sarah Rainsford's departure marks the first expulsion of a British journalist from Russia in ten years.

In 2011, a

Guardian

journalist

had already been forced to leave Moscow.  

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.



I'm speaking to @MishalHusain about it tomorrow morning on @ BBCr4today

- Sarah Rainsford (@sarahrainsford) August 13, 2021

 Getting kicked out of Russia, where I spent almost a third of my life and where I worked for years, is devastating.

Thank you for all your messages of support, 

”Sarah Rainsford wrote on Twitter.

An "

 attack on the freedom of the press

 "

Tim Davie, director general of the BBC, denounced an "

 attack on press freedom

 " and called on the Russian authorities to reverse their decision. 

The Russian Foreign Ministry said Moscow has warned London several times that it will react to what it calls the persecution of Russian journalists in Britain.

"

 We reject the allegations of the Russian Foreign Ministry regarding discriminatory action against Russian journalists in the UK,

" the

UK 

embassy in Moscow said in a statement

Russian journalists continue to work freely in the United Kingdom if they act within the framework of the law and the regulations, adds the British embassy which calls on Moscow to "

 reconsider this retrograde measure against an award-winning journalist of the BBC which can only further undermine media freedom in Russia

 ”.

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