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US journalist expelled from Russia, joins small group to be barred since Cold War

MOSCOW -  A senior U.S. journalist has been expelled from Russia, joining a small group of American correspondents to be barred from the country since the end of the Cold War. 

David Satter, who was an adviser for U.S. government-funded Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), has worked in Russia since the 1970s has also been a correspondent for the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal.

When Satter tried to renew his visa in the capital of neighboring Ukraine in December, he was told he was “undesirable” and his visa request had been rejected, according to a report by RFE/RL on Tuesday. 

The term "undesirable" by a Russian official is an equivalent of declaring Satter "persona non grata" in Russia, RFE/RL President Kevin Klose said.

In a statement, Russia’s foreign ministry said Satter had been found guilty of remaining in Russia illegally from Nov. 22-26, 2013, and would be denied entry to the country for five years.

Satter joins a small group of U.S. journalists to be denied access to the country since the end of the Cold War. 

In 2005, authorities banned ABC News journalists from working in Russia after the organization aired an interview with former Chechen leader Samil Basayev, according to The New York Times. Newsweek and Washington Post correspondent Steve LeVine had his visa revoked in 1995, it added. 

In 2011, Russia expelled Luke Harding, correspondent for British daily, The Guardian

Russia ranked 148 out of 179 countries in not-for-profit Reporters Without Borders' Press Freedom Index

NBC News' F. Brinley Bruton contributed to this report.

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