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Ukrainian Foreign Ministry protests ban for Kiev’s envoy to enter Russia

March 21, 13:46 UTC+3 KIEV
Kiev says Moscow has violated Minsk Agreements on Ukraine settlement by denying entry to Ukrainian presidential envoy for peaceful settlement in Donbass Irina Geraschenko
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© Artyom Geodakyan/ITAR-TASS

KIEV, March 21. /TASS/. Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has expressed protest over the fact that Ukrainian presidential envoy for peaceful settlement in Donbass Irina Geraschenko was not allowed to enter Russia.

"Ukrainian Foreign Ministry expresses decisive protest over the ban for Ukrainian people’s deputy, member of the permanent delegation of Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Ukrainian presidential envoy for peaceful settlement in Donbass, Ukraine’s envoy to Contact Group’s humanitarian sub-group Irina Geraschenko from entering the territory of the Russian Federation," the foreign ministry said in a statement. Geraschenko intended to attend the trial of former Ukrainian pilot Nadezhda Savchenko.

By denying entry to Geraschenko, Moscow "purposefully created artificial obstacles for the Ukrainian envoy to the Contact Group’s humanitarian sub-group to perform her direct functions" and violated its commitments in the framework of the Minsk Agreements.

"Ukrainian Foreign Ministry demands that the Russian side immediately cancel this decision and take all necessary measures to avoid any future provocations toward relatives and lawyers of Nadezhda Savchenko, foreign journalists, human rights activists, Ukraine’s MPs, as well as all representatives of Ukraine and international community that were present when the verdict was read out," the ministry added.

Ukrainian president’s press secretary Svyatoslav Tsegolko said earlier on Monday that Russian border control service has not allowed Ukraine’s presidential envoy for settlement in Donbass Irina Geraschenko to enter the country.

"Russian border guards have not allowed Irina Geraschenko to enter Russia after keeping her at the border for three hours. A border guard said that Irina was an undesirable individual for entering Russia," Tsegolko wrote on his Facebook page. Local media reported that Geraschenko is banned from entering Russia until 2021.

TASS has not yet obtained a comment from Russian Federal Security Service’s border control service.

Today the court started reading the verdict for the former Ukrainian pilot charged under three articles of the Russian Criminal Code "murder", "attempted murder" and "illegal border crossing".

Russia’s investigators say Savchenko, the gunner of a Mi-24 helicopter, joined the Aidar militant battalion and in June 2014 conducted covert surveillance and direction of artillery bombarding targeting a checkpoint in the much-troubled Lugansk region. The settlement was full of civilians, including three Russian journalists. Two Russian journalists Igor Kornelyuk and Anton Voloshin from the All-Russian Television and Radio Broadcasting Network (VGTRK) died in the shelling.

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