Russia to expel BBC reporter whose recent question about legitimacy put Lukashenka into rage

Sarah Rainsford, a British Broadcasting Company journalist will have to leave Russia until the end of August, Bloomberg reports with reference to the country’s Foreign Ministry officials.

КBBC reporter Sarah Rainsford in Minsk. 9 August 2021. VIDEO: АТН / YouTube

According to Moscow, the retaliatory move was spurred by UK ‘discriminating against Russian media’ and its refusal to issue visas to a a number of its reporters. Rainsford’s visa expires on Aug. 31; it will not be renewed.

“The ministry’s action is the first time that Russia has expelled a British journalist since the Guardian’s Luke Harding was thrown out in 2011. U.S. journalist David Satter was barred from Russia in 2014, while a Polish correspondent for the Gazeta Wyborcza daily was ordered to leave in 2015,” Bloomberg author Henry Meyer stresses.

BBC’s Sarah Rainsford has been a correspondent not only in Russia but also in Turkey, Spain, and Cuba. She was one of the first foreign journalists who came to cover the grave hostage situation in Beslan in the year of 2004.

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It should be recalled that Rainsford was present at Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s Big Conversation, an eight-hour meeting with journalists which was held on August 9 in Minsk. She asked the politician a hard question, making mentions of his legitimacy, the post-election reprisals, the detention of 40,000 persons, torturing detainees.

In turn, Lukashenka said that ‘the legitimacy was the result of the elections’, called the United Kingdom ‘an American henchman who danced to the American pipe’ and accused the United States and Great Britain of ‘stabbing our soldiers in the stomachs’.

“You speak about fair elections. It’s neither for you nor for America to talk about it. You have shown an example of how to hold elections ‘properly’. It was a total shame,” state-run news agency BelTA quotes him.

In addition, Alyaksandr Lukashenka wished the UK ‘choke on the sanctions’ they imposed on Belarus; the reporter also got advice to watch a propaganda film made by state-run Belarusian TV.

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