Russia has expelled Volkskrant correspondent Tom Vennink citing ‘earlier administrative infractions’, the paper reports.
Vennink’s residence permit was revoked with immediate effect and he will banned from entering Russia until January 2025. Vennink had been reporting from Russia since 2015.
The Russian authorities did not provide any further explanation, except to say Vennink had failed to register at his address after visiting another province in 2019 which foreigners are required to do. He was fined for this and also for failing to ask permission from the governor of Chukotka to visit the province.
‘It’s a mystery to us why this is suddenly being used as grounds to expel him. This sort of thing has never been a problem before,’ Volkskrant senior editor Pieter Klok said.
Vennink, who arrived in the Netherlands on Wednesday, said he was ‘surprised’ at the move. ‘Russian journalists have been experiencing great difficulties when trying to do their job but as a foreign correspondent I have been relatively free to report about Russia and the Russians for the last six years,’ he said.
Careteaker foreign affairs minister Ben Knapen called the move ‘unacceptable’ and said freedom of the press is ‘a great good’. Attempts by the Dutch ambassador in Moscow to get more information about the reasons for the expulsion had come to nothing, Knapen said.
The Volkskrant speculates the move may be a tit for tat action for the inquiry into the Russian role in the downing of flight MH17 and the recent decision by a Dutch court to return art treasures to Ukraine, not Russia.
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