Rossiya-24, a Russian state-TV outlet, announced the expulsion of a veteran BBC journalist. Rossiya-24 suggested it was a response to perceived British discrimination against Russian journalists.
The Moscow-based broadcaster said: “Sarah Rainsford is going home.
“According to our experts, this correspondent of the Moscow’s BBC bureau won’t have her visa prolonged as a result of Britain, in the media sphere, has crossed all our pink strains.”
They added: “The expulsion of Sarah Rainsford is our symmetrical response.”
In 2011, the Guardian’s Luke Harding was asked to leave Russia following coverage of the WikiLeaks cables.
American-journalist David Satter was forced out of Russia three years later and Polish reporter Gazeta Wyborcza was removed in 2015.
Writing to her Twitter followers, Ms Rainsford said: “Being expelled from Russia, a country I’ve lived in for almost ⅓ of my life – and reported for years – is devastating.”
Despite Ms Rainsford’s tweet, Rossiya-24 comments were echoed by the Kremlin’s Foreign Office.
Maria Zakharova, Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, said: “Representatives of the BBC who recently visited the Foreign Ministry were told everything in detail.
“We have made regular statements, urging the British to end persecution of Russian journalists.”
The UK has denied the accusation Russian journalists have been discriminated against.
READ MORE: Mum and daughter kicked off full plane after demanding ‘passengers give up seats’
He said: “The expulsion of Sarah Rainsford is a direct assault on media freedom which we condemn unreservedly.
“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 audience of hundreds of millions of people around the world.
“We urge the Russian authorities to reconsider their decision.
“In the meantime, we will continue to report events in the region independently and impartially.”
Moscow claims the UK has discriminated towards Russia Today and Sputnik.
This contains the declare a number of of their journalists have been denied entry to UK visas.
A report from the Kremlin’s Foreign Ministry equally claimed the UK participates in a “conventional propaganda course geared toward countering (*10*), discrediting steps by the Russian management and political initiatives of our nation.”
The assertion added: “Although there have been no instances of open obstruction of the actions of Russian media in the UK in 2020, nonetheless since December 2018 the RT TV channel has been embroiled in litigation with the British media regulator Ofcom, and RIA Novosti, Channel One and Russia-1 reporters can’t use company financial institution accounts in the UK since 2016.
“There is a transparent tendency of public reprehension and data assaults towards British politicians and public figures who collaborate with representatives of the Russian media, in explicit RT.”