MOSCOW (AP) – Russia has refused to renew a visa for a BBC journalist in Moscow – an effective expulsion amid the simmering tensions between the two countries – Russian state television reported.
Rossiya 24 said late Thursday that if her visa expires, BBC correspondent Sarah Rainsford will have to leave Russia before the month is up. The State Department’s decision not to extend Rainsford’s visa is in retaliation for Britain’s refusal to grant or extend visas to Russian journalists.
Rainsford did not want to comment on the situation, and there was no immediate comment from the BBC.
Russia’s relations with the West have sunk to their lowest level since the Cold War after Moscow annexed the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea in 2014, accused of Russian electoral interference, hacker attacks and other tensions.
Relations between Russia and Great Britain remained particularly strained following the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Julia in 2018 in an attack with a nerve agent developed by the Soviet Union, which, according to British authorities, is almost certainly “high-level” Russian State was approved ”- an assertion that Moscow vehemently denied.
In an incident in June that further tightened ties, Russia said one of its warships fired warning shots and a fighter plane dropped bombs in the path of the British destroyer HMS Defender in an attempt to evict it from an area near Crimea, the Moscow referred to as its territorial waters. Britain, which like most other nations did not recognize Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, insisted the Defender was not shot and said it was sailing in Ukrainian waters.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has called the incident a provocation, and Moscow warned that the Russian military could fire next time to hit invading warships if they fail to heed warnings.
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