Russia expels British journalist Sarah Rainsford, who said the move is ‘devastating’
  • BBC Moscow correspondent Sarah Rainsford has reported from Russia since 2000.
  • Russian state television announced she was “going home.”
  • The BBC condemned the move as “a direct assault on media freedom.”

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The long-time Moscow correspondent for the British Broadcasting Corporation is being kicked out of Russia in apparent retaliation for UK sanctions on officials in the country.

The news was announced on Russian state television, The New York Times reported, with a reporter on the government-run Rossiya-24 linking the decision to the UK having “crossed all red lines in media terms.”

The BBC reporter, Sarah Rainsford, confirmed the move in a post on Twitter.

“Being expelled from Russia, a country I’ve lived in for almost 1/3 of my life – and reported for years — is devastating,” she said.”

In a statement, BBC Director-General Tim Davie condemned the decision not to extend Rainsford’s visa as “a direct assault on media freedom.” He urged Russian officials to reconsider.

Reporters Without Borders lists Russia as one of the worst countries in terms of press freedom, ranking it 150th out of 180 nations.

A spokesperson for Russia’s foreign ministry told Reuters that the decision had been explained to BBC officials in recent days, casting it as a response to Britain denying visas to employees of Moscow’s state-run media organizations, such as RT and Sputnik.

The British government has accused both outlets of playing an “active role in spreading disinformation.”

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