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Russia denies entry to increasing number of Ukrainians, official alleges

April 10, 2014, 2:41 UTC+3 KIEV
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KIEV, April 10. /ITAR-TASS/. Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Yevgeny Perebeinos claimed there has been an increasing number of complaints from Ukrainian citizens who have been denied entry to Russia recently.

"Russian borderguards, too, demand that Ukrainian citizens confirm the availability of money to stay in Russia and leave it," Perebeinos told a news briefing on Wednesday.

"Ukraine is expressing the hope that our Russian colleagues will firmly adhere to their commitments within the framework of bilateral legal and contractual basis in the sphere of mutual trips by citizens," he said.

Ukraine’s State Border Service reported that Ukrainian border guards had denied entry to 3,500 Russians in the period from March 3 through March 9. On April 7, the Service said 200 Russians, including a number of journalists, were not allowed to enter Ukraine within the past 24 hours. In March, three employees of Russia's NTV Channel were denied entry, while on April 7, Forbes Russian journalists could not travel to Ukraine, as could not a journalist of the RUPTLY agency which is part of Russia's RT Channel.

Russian diplomats said they were hoping for an adequate reaction on the part of international organizations to Kiev's actions against Russian journalist. Russian Foreign Ministry Representative for Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law Konstantin Dolgov expressed concern over the continuing de-facto suppression by Ukrainian authorities.

Reports came from Ukraine on the deportation of several groups of Russia's REN TV Channel and a Rossiiskaya Gazeta journalists. The purpose of these measures by Ukrainian authorities is clearly to deprive millions of citizens of their country of objective information about the situation in Ukraine and around it, he said, noting that it fully contradicts to the international commitments Ukraine took in the field of human rights, freedom of speech and free access to information.

The France-based Reporters Without Borders rights organization voiced concern on Wednesday over increasing bans on Russian journalists' entry to Ukraine. Johann Bihr, the head of the organization's Eastern Europe and Central Asia desk, said Reporters sans Frontieres received a notice that the Ukrainian authorities had denied entry to the country for four journalists, two of them working for the Kommersant Daily newspaper and the other two, for the Rossiya-2 television channel.

"We are highly concerned by the regular denials of an opportunity for Russian journalists to cross the border, since this contravenes Ukraine's international obligations in field of mass media freedom," Bihr said. "Freedom of travel is inalienable from freedom of the press," he said adding that "in this connection, we strongly call on the Ukrainian authorities to avoid such incidents in the future.

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