Dutch journalist Tom Vennink expelled from Russia on spurious charges

Russia has expelled a journalist from a Dutch newspaper for "administrative violations," the publication reported on Thursday, Moscow's second move against a member of the Western media in three months, Reuters reports.

Volkskrant correspondent Tom Vennink's visa has been revoked, and he is now barred him from returning to Russia until January 2025, the newspaper said. He was told on Monday he had three days to leave.

"So, I packed my bags and left Russia yesterday," Vennink told Reuters in an interview. "I don't see a reason why the Russian authorities would personally target me, or target my newspaper."

The Dutch foreign ministry said it regretted Moscow's decision. "It is not acceptable for the Netherlands when a journalist is forced out of the country against his will," outgoing Foreign Minister Ben Knapen said.

Vennink, who was based in Russia since 2015, said the official grounds given for his removal were old violations including a 2019 fine for failing to register his home address and visiting a province in 2020 without seeking permission.

"These administrative wrongdoings became the reason the Foreign Ministry made the corresponding decision on the entry ban for the Dutchman, fully in line with Russian law," TASS news agency quoted a Russian Foreign Ministry official as saying about the 2019 and 2020 incidents.

Vennink added: "This does definitely intimidate my colleagues who are still in Moscow and other parts of Russia. We were already used to pressure on Russian journalists but recently this pressure has also been extended to foreign journalists unfortunately."


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