On top of the already poor bilateral relations between the UK and Russia, the Russian government has decided not to renew the visa of BBC correspondent Sarah Rainford in Moscow. This was reported by Russian state television.
The decision is widely seen as a response by the Russian authorities to the UK’s refusal to license Russia’s state broadcaster RT and the “continued pressure on the staff of many other Russian media”. The BBC declined to comment on the matter on Friday.
A spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry wrote on Telegram that “everything was explained in detail” to BBC representatives. She added that Moscow’s repeated warnings were not heeded. She also spoke of the alleged “persecution of Russian journalists” in the UK and “visa harassment” by London.
Rainford, who will have to leave the country by the end of the month, is currently one of two BBC correspondents in Moscow. I recently caused a stir when I asked Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko at a press conference if he was still legitimate given the violent suppression of dissent in the former Soviet republic. She will be the first British journalist to be expelled from Russia in ten years.
Relations between Russia and the United Kingdom have been tense for some time. The government in London has repeatedly criticized the Kremlin’s human rights violations, particularly in the case of imprisoned dissident and outspoken Putin critic Alexei Navalny.
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