Russia has expelled a US journalist living in Moscow for the first time since the cold war, in a move that is likely to strain relations with Washington on the eve of the Sochi Winter Olympics.
David Satter – a distinguished former correspondent with the Financial Times and the author of three well-received books on Russia and the Soviet Union – was told on Christmas Day that he had been banned from the country.
Satter had been based in the Russian capital since September. Last month, he travelled to the Ukrainian capital Kiev to renew his visa where Alexy Gruby, a diplomat at the Russian embassy, read him a prepared statement that said: "The competent organs have decided that your presence on the territory of the Russian Federation is not desirable. You are banned from entering Russia."
The "competent organs" are the Federal Security Service (FSB), President Vladimir Putin's powerful domestic spy and counter-intelligence agency. Such language is usually used in spy cases.