Russian journalist deported to guard national security

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A Russian journalist detained in Cyprus for allegedly being a threat to national security has been deported, officials said.

The journalist’s detention on Thursday in Nicosia sparked a rare crisis in relations between Russia and Cyprus, with the Cypriot ambassador summoned to the foreign ministry in Moscow for an explanation.

Russian news outlets have identified the journalist as Alexander Gasyuk, who worked in Cyprus for the state-run newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

He was quoted as telling TASS that Cypriot police manhandled him and that he was told his residence permit was being revoked because he was allegedly a security threat.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said any suggestion of inappropriate activities by the journalist was “absolutely far-fetched”.

CyBC reported that Gasyuk had left Cyprus late Friday. His family had also left, it reported.

Cyprus has been tight-lipped over the incident, other than to say authorities were taking all appropriate measures to protect national security.

It was unclear how long Gasyuk worked in Cyprus, but his residency permit was revoked.

Based on his most recent dispatches, he covered an Independence Day parade in Nicosia on October 1, which focused on Russian-made tanks being on display, celebrations by some Russians living in Cyprus of the annexation of territories in Ukraine and an interview with Russia’s ambassador to the island.

Cyprus and Russia have close cultural and business links, but those have cooled significantly since the war in Ukraine. Nicosia has followed its EU partners in imposing wide-ranging sanctions on Moscow.

According to sources, the Russian journalist resisted arrest on Thursday during the incident.

CNA said the sources (not named) dismissed allegations of violent behaviour from the authorities during his arrest.

It said that Cyprus has informed the Russian side about the matter and is communicating with Russian authorities at the appropriate diplomatic level to resolve the issue optimally.

Cyprus Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Theodoros Gotsis told CNA: “We can assure that the matter is being handled with due care and attention by the competent state services, and its resolution is already in progress following the appropriate procedures.”

He said Cyprus, as a coordinated state, “takes all necessary measures to protect its national security and implement decisions of the competent authorities for the protection of its interests.”