Russia expels British journalist

Feb. 8, 2011 at 11:41 AM
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LONDON, Feb. 8 (UPI) -- Britain's foreign secretary says his Russian counterpart has promised to look into the expulsion of the Moscow correspondent for The Guardian newspaper.

Luke Harding was refused entry to the country when he flew back from London during the weekend following two months of reporting on the contents of leaked United States diplomatic cables, The Guardian reported Tuesday.

An airport security official working for Russia's Federal Border Service told Harding "For you Russia is closed."

It is believed to be the first time a British journalist has been removed since the end of the cold war.

Harding's departure comes after the newspaper's reporting of WikiLeaks cables that contained allegations Russia had become "a virtual mafia state" under Vladimir Putin.

Guardian Editor in Chief Alan Rusbridger called the expulsion "a very troubling development with serious implications for press freedom."

British Foreign Secretary William Hague contacted his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov Monday to find out what happened.

Hague said Lavrov promised to look into the matter.

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