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10 Jun, 2024 23:02

Russia expels Austrian journalist

Moscow has retaliated after a correspondent for TASS was ordered to leave Vienna
Russia expels Austrian journalist

Russia has revoked the accreditation of Austrian journalist Maria Knips-Witting – from state-broadcaster ORF – and ordered her to leave the country. The move is a “reciprocal measure” in response to Vienna’s decision to expel a Russian journalist, the Foreign Ministry in Moscow said on Monday.

Austria ordered TASS correspondent Ivan Popov to leave at the end of April and gave him two weeks to go home. In May, Moscow summoned the Austrian ambassador and warned that Russia would 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. In response, 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.  

In a short statement, ORF said it “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 a 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 condemned the restrictions as unfounded and discriminatory.