Some Foreign Media Offered Kremlin Trips

The Kremlin is planning to give foreign news agencies greater access in covering the new president, Dmitry Medvedev, a Kremlin spokesman said Monday.

Under the plan, reporters representing foreign news wires such as The Associated Press and Reuters will be allowed the same travel opportunities as their Russian counterparts, but they will have to be Russian citizens, spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Peskov did not elaborate on why Russian citizenship is required, saying only that the condition was a result of "infrastructure restrictions."

Journalists from foreign newswires have been prohibited from accompanying President Vladimir Putin on his foreign and domestic trips as part of the Kremlin pool, Peskov said. Instead, they traveled separately, he said.

"Foreign newswires will actually become permanent and full members of the Kremlin pool," Peskov said.

He declined to name an exact date for when the new rules would take effect, but said it would happen in the near future.

Doug Birch, AP's Moscow bureau chief, confirmed that the Kremlin had offered AP a chance to send a reporter on the president's Kremlin pool plane.

"We're not certain exactly what this will mean, but we hope it will give us improved access to officials and briefings," he said via e-mail.

The AP has two Russian citizens on its core reporting staff, but Birch said things would be easier for the bureau in terms of scheduling if foreign reporters could fly on the pool plane too.