Russia EXPELS BBC's Sarah Rainsford in retaliation for discrimination

Russia EXPELS senior BBC journalist Sarah Rainsford in retaliation for ‘discrimination’ by Britain against its journalists

  • The BBC’s Sarah Rainsford will have to leave Russia before the end of September
  • It was retaliation for Britain refusing to grant or extend Russian journalist’s visas
  • Russia said it was a ‘symbolic deportation’ and a ‘symmetrical reaction’ to the UK 

Russia has expelled senior BBC journalist Sarah Rainsford in retaliation for Britain ‘discriminating’ against the Russian press.  

Moscow has refused to renew a visa for Rainsford, state TV reported, in an effective expulsion amid simmering tensions with the UK.

Rainsford will have to leave Russia before the end of the month when her visa expires, state TV reported late on Thursday, terming the de facto expulsion a ‘symbolic deportation’. 

It said the Foreign Ministry’s decision not to extend her visa came in retaliation to British refusal to grant or extend visas to Russian journalists.

Rainsford would not comment on the situation, and there was no immediate reaction from the BBC. A spokeswoman for the Russian foreign ministry said she would comment on the matter once Rainsford had done so.

Russia has expelled senior BBC journalist Sarah Rainsford in retaliation for Britain ‘discriminating’ against the Russian press

Moscow has refused to renew a visa for Rainsford, state TV reported, in an effective expulsion amid simmering tensions with the UK

It is an unusual move that signals a further deterioration in already poor ties between London and Moscow.

It follows a crackdown before parliamentary elections in September on Russian-language media at home whom the authorities judge to be backed by malign foreign interests intent on stoking unrest.

State TV blamed 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, for the expulsion. 

‘Sarah Rainsford is going home. According to our experts, this correspondent of the 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.

‘The expulsion of Sarah Rainsford is our symmetrical response,’ it said.

Rainsford, a Russian-speaker, is an experienced BBC foreign correspondent who has also done stints in Havana, Istanbul and Madrid. 

Rainsford, a Russian-speaker, is an experienced BBC foreign correspondent who has also done stints in Havana, Istanbul and Madrid

Russia’s relations with the West have sunk to the lowest levels since the Cold War, following Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, accusations of Russian interference with elections, hacking attacks and other tensions.

Relations between Russia and Britain have remained particularly strained after the 2018 poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the UK.

It was an attack with a Soviet-designed nerve agent that British authorities said had almost certainly approved been ‘at a senior level of the Russian state’ — an allegation Moscow denies.

In a June incident that further aggravated ties, Russia said one of its warships fired warning shots and a warplane dropped bombs in the path of the British destroyer HMS Defender to chase it away from an area near Crimea that Moscow claims as its territorial waters.

The UK, which like most other nations did not recognise Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea, insisted the Royal Navy ship was not fired upon and said it was sailing in Ukrainian waters.

Russian President Vladimir Putin described the incident as a provocation, and Moscow warned that the military could fire to hit intruding warships if they do not heed warnings.

Russian President Vladimir Putin described an incident involving a Royal Navy ship in the Black Sea earlier this year was a provocation, and Moscow warned that the military could fire to hit intruding warships if they do not heed warnings

 

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