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Italian, Czech, Russian journalists barred from entering Ukraine

May 02, 19:15 updated at: May 02, 21:24 UTC+3 KIEV

Besides, the Russian citizen was not allowed to cross into Ukraine, since he "happened to be a political observer of a Russian publishing house," the border guards claim

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KIEV, May 2. /TASS/. Ukrainian border guards denied entry to their country for Russian, Czech and Italian journalists for being "pro-Russian individuals," Ukraine’s State Border Guard Service said on Wednesday.

"On May 1, the State Border Guard Service barred pro-Russian individuals - citizens of Italy, the Czech Republic and Russia - from entering Ukraine," the press service said adding "they all were planning to cross into Ukraine to cover the anniversary of May 2 events in Odessa."

The border guards said that the Italian citizen and the Czech citizen "were not let in at Borispol airport (the international airport in the Kiev region - TASS) basing on reports coming from other law enforcement agencies" since they "have not been covering truly the events taking place in Ukraine recently."

Besides, the Russian citizen was not allowed to cross into Ukraine, since he "happened to be a political observer of a Russian publishing house," the border guards claim.

"The three foreigners were sent back on return flights," the press service said.

Spokesperson Oleg Slobodyan, an aide to the head of Ukraine’s State Border Guard Service, told TASS that the Russian journalist had been slapped with a three-year ban. At the same time, he did not comment on the journalist’s identity, nor the publication they represented.

On Tuesday, May 1 Italian journalist Giorgio Bianchi, who intended to attend commemoration events in Odessa on the anniversary of May 2 tragedy, was barred from entering Ukraine. He was informed about an entry ban and then sent back on the soonest flight. Later, a journalist of Czech media outlet Parlamentni Listy, Jan Rychetsky, was also reported to have been barred from entering Ukraine.

May 2 Odessa tragedy

The Black Sea port city of Odessa saw riots on May 2, 2014, during which Right Sector militants (the movement recognized as an extremist organization in Russia) and football fans from Kiev set the Trade Unions House on fire. A tent camp where anti-Maidan activists were collecting signatures for a referendum on Ukraine's federalization and for the status of a state language for Russian was flattened. The activists sought shelter in the building. However, the attackers did not let anyone leave the burning Trade Unions House building. Around 48 people were reported dead and nearly 250 injured in the clashes and in the fire in the Trade Unions House.

At least 22 people were announced instigators, whereas arrests were made of exclusively anti-Maidan supporters.

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