December 18, 2015 / 11:39 AM / 4 years ago

Russia expels reporter in spat with Poland

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia expelled the Moscow correspondent of a leading Polish newspaper on Friday, a move it said was a “symmetrical” response to Warsaw ejecting a Russian reporter designated a “danger to the Polish state.”

Waclaw Radziwinowicz, the Moscow correspondent for Gazeta Wyborcza for 18 years, was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry on Friday and told he had a month to leave the country.

“The reason is simple,” said Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry. “It was done purely on the basis of reciprocity.”

Radziwinowicz told Reuters he had been told his expulsion was a direct response to Poland’s of Leonid Sviridov, a long-time correspondent for the RIA Novosti news agency, part of the Kremlin-backed Rossiya Segodnya media holding.

Sviridov, 49, left Poland on Dec. 12 after the Polish Foreign Ministry described him as a “danger to the Polish state” and he was stripped of his right to work and reside in Poland.

Zakharova on Friday called Sviridov’s expulsion strange, saying he had not been provided with a clear explanation of what he was supposed to have done wrong.

Moscow, she said, had been obliged to respond in kind.

“This was a forced measure, not our choice. But foreign colleagues must understand the consequences of hounding Russian journalists for no reason.”

Reporting by Lidia Kelly and Andrew Osborn; Editing by Alexander Winning

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