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Guardian correspondent allowed entry to Russia

Guardian correspondent Luke Harding has been allowed to return to Russia.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has reversed its decision not to allow The Guardian's Moscow correspondent back into the country, saying Luke Harding would now be granted a new visa.

The u-turn comes ahead of a visit to London by Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov and follows mounting international criticism of the decision to put Harding back on a plane to London at the weekend.

A Foreign Ministry spokesman told AFP last night: "If Mr Harding wants to continue to work in Russia - and we see no obstacle - he has to regularise his status in line with our accreditation rules for foreign journalists".

The spokesman said Harding should request the new visa from London that the authorities would be willing to grant.

A Guardian News & Media spokesperson said: "We welcome the offer from the Russian Foreign Ministry to give our Moscow correspondent, Luke Harding, a new visa so he may continue to work in Russia.

"Luke and the Guardian are now considering the offer very carefully."

Harding, who had been working at the Guardian offices in London for the last two months, flew back to Moscow at the weekend but was refused entry by Russian authorities in what was first thought to be response to the reporting of Wikileaks cables unfavourable to Vladimir Putin.

Full story at the Press Gazette.