El Mundo’s Moscow correspondent expelled from Russia after 12 years of coverage

Spanish journalist Xavier Colás was forced to leave Russia on Wednesday after 12 years of reporting from Moscow for Spanish daily newspaper El Mundo.

Colás received a call on Tuesday evening from an unnamed Russian official who informed him his visa had not been renewed, ordering him to leave Russia within 24 hours to avoid “problems”, El Mundo reported on Thursday.

Several months ago the police visited Colás at his Moscow apartment to warn him not to cover demobilisation protests being organised by the wives of Russian soldiers, El Mundo added.

Writing that he had “no regrets” in a post on X on Wednesday, Colás said that he had simply been doing his job. “I talked about what happened, spoke to people who suffered because of it, and explained who is responsible.”

Over the past decade, Colás has covered the 2014 Maidan protests in Kyiv, the annexation of Crimea and the war in Donbas. He also reported from Kyiv during the first days of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

In February, Colás published Putinistan, a book about his years working in Russia and the rise of authoritarianism he has witnessed in the country.

Many foreign reporters have been forced to leave Russia since the invasion of Ukraine amid a Kremlin crackdown on press freedom. Among those recently targeted by the Kremlin is Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who was arrested on charges of “espionage” in March 2023 and is still awaiting trial in Moscow’s notorious Lefortovo jail.

Editor in chief — Kirill Martynov. Terms of use. Privacy policy.