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Russia Bars U.S. TV Network Over Basaev Interview

Shamil Basaev (file photo) 2 August 2005 -- Russia's Foreign Ministry said today it will not renew the accreditation of reporters working for the U.S.'s ABC television network.

A ministry statement makes it clear that the decision was made in retaliation for ABC's decision to recently air an interview with Chechen separatist field commander Shamil Basaev.

The Foreign Ministry is the main government agency authorizing foreign media outlets to operate from Russia and its decision effectively bars ABC from working in the country.

The airing of the interview on 28 July caused an uproar in Moscow, where Basaev is wanted for his alleged participation in attacks hitting Russian military and civilian targets.

The Russian Foreign Ministry also says RFE/RL will be requested to explain the circumstances under which its staffer, Andrei Babitsky, obtained the interview.

(Russian Foreign Ministry statement/international agencies)

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

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