NOS withdraw correspondent Iris de Graaf from Russia over safety concerns

NOS correspondent Iris de Graaf. Photo: ANP/HH/Patrick Harderwijk
NOS correspondent Iris de Graaf. Photo: ANP/HH/Patrick Harderwijk

Public broadcaster NOS has withdrawn its Moscow correspondent Iris de Graaf from Russia because of concerns about her personal safety.

De Graaf, 32, has worked in Russia since 2020, but in recent months interference by Russia’s security services had made her work increasingly difficult, NOS head of news Giselle van Cann said.

The conviction of two Russian military officers and one Ukrainian associate by a Dutch court for shooting down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in 2014 and the issue of an arrest warrant for Russian president Vladimir Putin by the International Criminal Court, based in The Hague, in March, have further soured relations between Russia and the Netherlands.

Western journalists have become a target for Russian authorities since the invasion of Ukraine began, concerns that were heightened when Washington Post reporter Evan Gershkovich was arrested on March 29 and detained on spying charges.

Van Cann said: ‘The conclusion is that the situation for Iris as the most visible Dutch correspondent in Moscow is too unpredictable for us to be able to assess the risks adequately.’

De Graaf will continue to cover Russian affairs from the Netherlands, NOS said. Freelance Russia-based correspondent Geert Groot Koerkamp will remain in the country. The broadcaster said it ‘deeply regretted’ the fact that its direct coverage would be limited as a result.

De Graaf told talk show Op1 in March that she was on constant alert when living and working in Moscow. ‘I don’t cross on a red light, because that can be an administrative offence and if you get two of those you can be expelled from the country,’ she said.


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