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VIENNA, April 10. /ITAR-TASS/. More than 20 Russian journalists were not permitted to enter Ukraine to perform their professional duties, Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Representative for the Freedom of Media Dunja Mijatovic told reporters on Thursday.
She expressed deep concern over the restrictions imposed by Ukrainian authorities that hamper the freedom of media.
"I can only say that the situation is not moving in the direction that we would call vibrant and healthy media freedom environment," Dunja Mijatovic stated. "We have many reports on journalists being harassed, intimidated, media houses raided."
"We still have reports about Russian journalists not being able to travel to Ukraine. More than 20 cases now from several media outlets," the OSCE representative confirmed. She added that the journalists who have been denied the right to enter Ukraine should be able to challenge such a decision.
Dunja Mijatovic added: "What we plan to do is travel to Ukraine next week; we're going to go to Kharkiv, Kiev and Odessa to meet journalists from all parts of Ukraine."
Since Wednesday, another four Russian journalists have been banned from entering Ukraine. These are special correspondent and photographer for Kommersant Publishing House, as well as cameraman and soundman of Rossiya TV channel, according to spokesperson for Border Directorate of the Federal Security Service (FSB) in Belgorod and Voronezh oblasts Dmitry Zhukov.
“All of them were forced to get off the train en route to Ukraine and sent back to Russia,” the representative said, adding that the deportation of journalists was made under the pretext of “lack of finances for staying in the territory of Ukraine”.
The FSB spokesperson also said that the fifth one to be sent back to Russia was a common train passenger.