Russia deports Guardian correspondent
Luke Harding, The Guardian's Moscow correspondent, was deported from Russia upon his arrival at an airport in the capital on Monday, the British paper said.
Luke Harding, 42, landed in Moscow on Monday after a two-month trip and was detained in a cell for 45 minutes, RIA Novosti reported.
He was then placed on a plane back to London. His passport with an annulled Russian visa was returned to him only after he had taken his seat on the plane. The visa would have been valid until late May.
The British newspaper was one of several international media outlets given access to thousands of leaked U.S. embassy cables by Wikileaks. Harding was responsible for reporting on a number of cables critical of the Russian authorities, one of which described Russia under current Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as a "virtual mafia state."
Harding said on his blog on The Guardian website he was given no explanations for the deportation and was very sorry to leave Russia under such circumstances.
Harding is the first prominent British journalist to be expelled from Russia since Angus Roxburgh, then a Sunday Times correspondent, was thrown out of the Soviet Union in tit-for-tat expulsion in 1989.