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Published: Tuesday January 14, 2014 MYT 4:31:08 PM
Updated: Tuesday January 14, 2014 MYT 4:31:08 PM

U.S. journalist says he has been expelled from Russia

MOSCOW (Reuters) - A U.S. journalist and author critical of President Vladimir Putin says he has been barred from Russia, a move that has echoes of the Cold War and could strain relations with the United States.

David Satter, a former Moscow correspondent for the Financial Times who had been back in the Russian capital working since September, said on Twitter he had been refused permission to return after a trip to Ukraine last month.

His treatment could fuel concern about freedom of speech before next month's Winter Olympics although it follows the release of Russia's most famous prisoner, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, and members of the Pussy Riot protest group.

Asked on Twitter about his treatment, Satter wrote: "Yes expelled. I was living in Moscow."

The Russian Foreign Ministry, which deals with media accreditations for foreign journalists, did not immediately comment on the report.

"His visa expired on November21 and the court ruled to expel him from the country," Kseniya Lyapina, a spokeswoman for Moscow's Tagansky court, said on Tuesday, adding Russia's federal migration service sought such a court ruling.

Lyapina also said Satter has repeatedly violated Russia's visa regulations.

Satter had been advising Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. The U.S.-funded broadcaster said Satter's visa request had been denied and said that the U.S. embassy had sought an explanation for Russian authorities without success.

It quoted Satter, who has written three books on Russia and the former Soviet Union, as saying he had been told by a Russian embassy official in the Ukrainian capital Kiev, that his presence was considered "undesirable".

(Reporting by Timothy Heritage and Vladimir Soldatkin, Editing by Douglas Busvine)

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