Sarah Rainsford, the BBC’s Moscow correspondent, says Russia told her to never return

“It’s not a failure to renew my visa, although technically that’s what it is. I’m being expelled and I’ve been told that I can’t come back, ever,” Rainsford told the BBC’s “Today” program on Saturday.

“To be honest, it’s devastating personally but it’s also shocking. Russia has never been a posting for me: it’s not just any old place. It is a country that I’ve devoted a huge amount of my life to trying to understand.”

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The state-run TV channel Russia 24 reported Thursday that Rainsford’s visa wouldn’t be renewed, successfully expelling her from the nation. An anchor on the channel stated the determination was in response to the discrimination in opposition to Russian journalists in the UK who aren’t being granted visas or renewals.

According to state media, the determination was a consequence of repeated makes an attempt in the UK to revoke the license of RT, a Russian state-controlled tv community, and fixed stress on staff of many different Russian media in the nation.

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“Sarah Rainsford’s expulsion is our symmetrical response,” Russia 24 stated.

Rainsford stated she had spent a 3rd of her life in Russia and stated the determination in opposition to her was an instance of how the nation was turning more and more inward.

“I wasn’t expecting this to happen. There were clear signs for Russian media: there have been really serious problems recently, for Russian independent journalists, but until now, for the foreign press, we’d somehow been shielded from all of that,” she stated.

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Rainsford stated that when told of the determination in opposition to her visa extension, she tried reasoning with officers by stating that she was any person who understood the nation.

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“The reality is that they don’t want people like that here. It’s much easier to have fewer people here who understand and who can talk directly to people and hear their stories. It’s much easier, perhaps, to have people who don’t speak the language, don’t know the country so deeply. I really think it is indicative of an increasingly difficult and repressive environment,” she stated.

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BBC Director-General Tim Davie referred to as the determination “a direct assault on media freedom” and inspired Moscow to overview it.

“Sarah is an exceptional and fearless journalist. She is a fluent Russian speaker who provides independent and in-depth reporting of Russia and the former Soviet Union. Her journalism informs the BBC’s audiences of hundreds of millions of people around the world,” Davie stated.

“We urge the Russian authorities to reconsider their decision. In the meantime, we will continue to report events in the region independently and impartially.”

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stated on Friday in a Telegram message that the overseas ministry has repeatedly warned the BBC that Russia would take measures in response to “London’s real visa mockery of the Russian correspondents in Britain.” According to Zakharova, BBC representatives who lately visited the ministry have been told every little thing intimately.

Earlier this week, the ministry blocked entry to a number of British representatives.

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The ministry additionally referred to as on the UK to “drop the absolutely ungrounded confrontational policy,” including that “an adequate and proportional response will follow any unfriendly steps.”

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