Polish journalist expelled from Russia in tit-for-tat move

WARSAW: Russia is expelling a Moscow correspondent for a leading Polish newspaper in a tit-for-tat move after a Russian reporter in Poland was stripped of his right to reside in Poland amid suspicions of espionage.

Roman Imielski, managing editor for Gazeta Wyborcza, said on Twitter on Friday that correspondent Waclaw Radziwinowicz had been told to leave Russia. The Russian foreign ministry later confirmed the move.

Imielki said "this is a response to the expulsion from Poland" of Leonid Sviridov, a Russia reporter with the Kremlin-funded Rossiya Segodnya news service, who left Poland last Saturday.

Poland's Internal Security Agency said Sviridov was a threat to Poland's security, though it kept his case top secret and never revealed what evidence it had against him. Polish media said Sviridov was suspected of spying for Russia, something Sviridov denied.

The Interfax news agency on Friday quoted Radziwinowicz as saying that he was ordered to leave Russia within a month and was stripped of his Foreign Ministry accreditation, which makes it impossible for him to work in Russia.

He said he had been summoned to the Russian foreign ministry earlier on Friday where his accreditation card was taken from him.

Moscow on Friday said plainly that Radziwinowicz's expulsion for a tit-for-tat move.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the Polish journalist was ordered out of Russia "on the principle of reciprocity."

"As of today, the Polish correspondent can no longer work as a journalist in the Russian Federation," Zakharova said. "This is a forced step, it was not our choice. But foreign counterparts should realize the consequences of unfounded persecution of Russian journalists."

Prior to the expulsion, Radziwinowicz was reportedly involved in publishing a book of dialogues between Gazeta Wyborcza's editor-in-chief Adam Michnik and Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

Navalny's associate Vladimir Ashurkov in a Twitter post on Friday hailed the journalist for an "important role in preparing the book."