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Russian journalists heading for conference barred from entering Ukraine

Entry was denied to senior editor of St. Petersburg-based e-newspaper Yulia Nikitina, Moi Rayon correspondent Yelena Vladykina, and a journalist from the Staraya Rus periodical

ST. PETERSBURG, December 7. /TASS/. Three Russian journalists heading for an annual investigative journalism conference were denied entry to Ukraine, editors of their respective media outlets told TASS on Friday.

Entry was denied to Yulia Nikitina, a senior editor of St. Petersburg-based e-newspaper; Yelena Vladykina, a Moi Rayon correspondent' and a journalist from the Staraya Rus periodical. They were sent back to Russia on Thursday.

"Yes, they were denied entry. It happened at the airport. The official reason for denial was that they allegedly had not enough money for staying in the country," Sergei Kovalchenko, a Moi Rayon editor, told TASS.

Meanwhile, editor-in-chief Alexander Gorshkov said it was a predictable situation. "It was just experimental evidence. She [Yulia Nikitina] had an invitation of the Ukrainian side to attend the annual conference of Ukrainian investigative journalists. It is a serious association uniting dozens of journalists who have been working in this region for 20 years. Over the past years, they have learnt much. Ukraine’s investigative journalism has reached a serious level. It is sad that next to no contacts are left now," he said.

Chairman of the Russian Union of Journalists Vladimir Solovyov described the situation as regrettable, especially "ahead of elections in Ukraine."

"I’d day that this situation is not even baffling or surprising but regrettable. Ukraine’s information space has been purged and the voice of the Russian press seems to be very irritating for the Ukrainian authorities. It is sad and, regrettably, the Ukrainian authorities are deaf to all of our arguments and statements. So, it looks like all we have to do is wait when common sense gets the upper hand in Ukraine’s public opinion," he told TASS.