Russian military bars US channel

Russia's defence minister has said he is barring military personnel from contact with ABC after the American television channel telecast an interview with the Chechen Shamil Basayev.

    The network aired an interview with Basayev

    Speaking from the Russian Far Eastern port of Vladivostok, Sergei Ivanov said the Defence Ministry now considered ABC persona non grata following the interview, shown on Thursday.

    "Today I have given the order to the head of the press service that not one serviceman of the Defence Ministry should have contact with the American television channel ABC. We will continue to act openly with the press, but this channel will not be invited to the Defence Ministry and no interviews will be given to it," Ivanov said in televised comments.

    "That is to say, this channel is now persona non grata for the defence ministry," he said.

    Accreditation not removed

    A spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, however, said there
    were no plans to revoke ABC's authorisation to work in
    Russia.

    "At this point, we are not revoking their accreditation," spokesman Valery Balmashnov said.

    Officials at ABC's Moscow bureau could not be immediately located for comment.

    On Friday, the Foreign Ministry summoned a top US diplomat to protest over the interview with Basayev, who has claimed responsibility for some of Russia's most terrifying terrorist attacks, including last year's hostage seizure at the school in Beslan.

    In the interview conducted by Russian journalist Andrei Babitsky, Basayev, who has a $10 million bounty on his head, said he was plotting more attacks. 

    SOURCE: Agencies


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