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Russia expels Austrian journalist

Moscow has retaliated against an earlier ouster of a Russian correspondent from Vienna

Russia has revoked the accreditation of journalist Maria Knips-Witting, who works for Austria’s state-funded broadcaster ORF, and has ordered her to leave the country. The expulsion is a “reciprocal measure” in response to Vienna’s earlier decision to oust a Russian journalist, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on its website.

On April 30, Austria revoked the accreditation of TASS correspondent Ivan Popov and gave him two weeks to leave the country. In May, Moscow had summoned the Austrian ambassador and warned that Russia would be forced to retaliate unless Vienna “revised its decision.” 

“Despite the Russian protest, Austria had implemented its initiative, and, on June 7, Popov was forced to leave Vienna,” the Foreign Ministry said. As retaliation, Knips-Witting was ordered on Monday to “hand over her accreditation cards and leave the territory of the Russian Federation in the near future.” 

“If Vienna continues the practice of discrimination against Russian journalists, an appropriate reaction will immediately follow in relation to Austrian journalists,” the Foreign Ministry warned. It added that Moscow is ready to restore the accreditation of ORF reporters once Austria “creates conditions for the work of the Russian media” and allows TASS back into the country.  

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The ORF released a short statement, saying that the broadcaster “regrets the decision of the Russian Foreign Ministry, cannot understand it and will take all necessary steps to continue to ensure independent and comprehensive reporting from Russia.” 

The EU intensified the crackdown on Russian media after Moscow launched its military operation in Ukraine in February 2022. Brussels issued a bloc-wide ban on several major outlets, including RT and RIA Novosti, while accusing Moscow of waging an “international campaign of media and information manipulation.” Moscow has blasted the restrictions as unfounded and discriminatory. 

June 11, 2024 at 04:32AM

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