TIRASPOL, April 9 /TASS/. Moldova’s unrecognized republic of Transdniestria regards Moldova’s decision to ban entry to a Russian TV crew as an attempt to increase the republic’s information blockade, the Foreign Ministry of the Dniester Republic said in a statement released on Thursday.
The crew of Russia’s Zvezda TV channel, including correspondent Alexey Golovko, was detained at passport control at Chisinau airport on Thursday after the border police guards had learnt they were heading for Moldova’s unrecognized Dniester Republic.
They took the journalists to a separate room and asked them about their itinerary and the purpose of their trip to Moldova. Then they took away the journalists’ passports which were returned 30 minutes later. The Russian journalists were told that the Moldovan Interior Ministry had banned them from entering the country, Zvezda TV wrote on its website.
"The Foreign Ministry (of the Dniester Republic) regards today’s incident as another step designed to increase the information blockade of the Dniester region," the document said.
The Dniester Republic has urged the Moldovan side to give up its "witch hunt" practices and stop imposing restrictions in all spheres of bilateral relations. "We assume that erection of barriers to the work of foreign media in the Dniester Republic is not contributing to creating positive atmosphere in relations between the sides. It is also inconsistent as an attempt to prevent the spread of objective information about the republic’s life abroad," the Foreign Ministry said.
The crew of Russia’s Zvezda TV channel was denied entry to Moldova because they did not have accreditation, Moldova’s border police spokeswoman Daniela Mynzatu told TASS on Thursday.
"According to our information, the Russian journalists are not included in the persona non grata list in Moldova. They were banned entry because they did not have accreditation. The TV crew has now left for Moscow," Mynzatu said.
Anna Taban, a spokesperson for the Moldovan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, said in turn that the Russian journalists had not applied for accreditation.
"The Zvezda TV’s shooting team has never asked us for accreditation which is mandatory for foreign journalists arriving in the country," Taban told TASS.
The crew had all the necessary documents and accreditation just as the permission to take interviews and shoot in regions bordering Ukraine, the Zvezda channel said on its website.
In March, the Moldovan authorities denied entry to journalists from the Rossiya 24 TV news channel who were heading to cover the elections in Moldova’s Gagauz Autonomy.
Journalist Andrey Kondrashov, the author of the "Crimea. The Road Back Home" documentary, and Dmitry Kiselyov, the general director of the Rossiya Segodnya media holdings, have been declared persona non grata in Moldova.
The Russian Foreign Ministry has described Chisinau’s actions as discriminatory measures that violate fundamental human rights and liberties.