Home Travel & Adventure Spanish Journalist’s Urgent Exit from Russia: Visa Denial Sparks International Concerns

Spanish Journalist’s Urgent Exit from Russia: Visa Denial Sparks International Concerns


Russian authorities have refused to renew the visa of a Spanish journalist, forcing him to leave the country within 24 hours of receiving the negative response to his applications.

While the Russian Foreign Ministry claims that all the necessary documentation for the journalist’s stay was provided, the journalist disputes this claim, saying that refusing to renew the visa was the only reason for their departure, SchengenVisaInfo reports.

Xavier Colas, a correspondent for El Mundo newspaper, has become the latest foreign journalist to depart Russia after authorities declined to renew his visa.

Through a post on X, Colas emphasized his commitment to his journalistic duty, stating that he does not regret anything.

I have simply done my job: I have told what is happening, spoken to the people who suffer because of it, and explained who is responsible for what happens. After 12 years of reporting from Moscow, the Russian authorities refused to renew my journalist visa at the last minute, and I only had 24 hours to leave the country, leaving too much behind.

Xavier Colas

Colás was visited by police officers who warned her to stop covering protests by women with family members in the Russian military, a rare display of public discontent with the war. The same has been reported from Russia for 12 years and has witnessed the government’s growing pressure on independent media.

Journalists in Russia Face Visa Rejections & Deportations

Recent incidents highlight the challenges journalists face in Russia. As a result, in August 2021, the Foreign Office refused to renew the visa of BBC journalist Sarah Rainsford amid tensions with the United Kingdom. Later, Tom Vennink of De Volkskrant was expelled for “administrative offenses.”

In February 2022, shortly before the conflict in Ukraine, Russian authorities closed Deutsche Welle’s office in Moscow and revoked the accreditations of its staff.

Amid the tumultuous conflict in Ukraine, Russian authorities closed the office of Canadian broadcaster CBC, revoking the visas and credentials of its journalists.

In March of last year, Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich was trapped in a web of controversy during his reporting expedition to Russia. His arrest on espionage charges prompted heated denials from both him and his employer, with the United States government claiming his detention was wrongful.

Russia made a similar decision regarding Dutch journalism. Thus, in August 2023, it refused to extend the visa of Eva Hartog, a Dutch-born journalist associated with Politico Europe and the famous news magazine De Groene Amsterdammer.

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