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Ukraine bans entry to RT crew sent to cover presidential election

Published time: May 20, 2014 20:05
The building of the new Terminal D at Kiev Boryspil international airport (RIA Novosti / Andrey Voloshin)

The building of the new Terminal D at Kiev Boryspil international airport (RIA Novosti / Andrey Voloshin)

RT Arabic’s news crew who arrived in Kiev to cover the upcoming May 25 Ukrainian presidential election has not been allowed into the country and is being sent back to Moscow.

RT’s correspondent Anna Knishenko and her colleagues Elderra Khaled and Konstantin Bolshakov arrived from Moscow in Kiev’s international airport Borispol on Tuesday afternoon.

At the border control they immediately took our passports. An hour later, we – one by one – were invited to a special room for an interview,” Knishenko said on the phone. The interview has already become a routine for everyone arriving in Borispol airport.

She said three border control officials were asking them the purpose of their visit and the amount of money the journalists had with them and whether they have ever visited Ukraine before. Knishenko said she was also asked her personal opinion about the situation with Crimea – which joined Russia following the March 16 referendum – and, also about RT channel.

They said they saw my reports,” Knishenko, who works for the Arabic team, added.

After “cross-examining” the cameraman and the assistant - which lasted altogether for about an hour - the team was allowed to collect their luggage.

Border guards gave the journalists papers in the Ukrainian language stating that they were denied entry since they could not properly explain the purpose of their visit, the RT reporter said.That is despite the journalists being accredited by the Ukrainian Central Election Commission, she added.

The RT crew was then made to leave for their departure flight, being allowed only to go a café and smoking area.

We’re walking under convoy everywhere,” Knishenko said.

The journalists were not told when their plane would leave and not provided with any other information. Passports will only be returned to them by Aeroflot pilots.

Earlier in the day, RT contributing journalist Graham Phillips said he was detained by the National Guard at a check point in Mariupol, eastern Ukraine. Since then connection with him was lost and according to the latest reports he is being to Kiev.

On Sunday, two journalists for Russian channel LifeNews were captured in eastern Ukraine by the Ukrainian National Guard. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) urged Kiev authorities to release the journalists, Oleg Sidyakin and Marat Saichenko, saying that intimidation and obstruction of media working in the country is “unacceptable.”

The organization’s representative on freedom of the media, Dunja Mijatovic, addressed the Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov in a letter, urging to him to thoroughly investigate the incident, Itar-Tass reported.

Speaking on Monday in Vienna, Mijatovic condemned “continued harassment of journalists covering the conflict in Ukraine.”

She noted that on 15-16 May, Russian journalists from various media, including Zvezda, NTV, Channel One and TVC channels, were denied entry to the country, the OSCE website quotes. Reportedly, all journalists were accredited by responsible Ukrainian authorities to cover the presidential election.

Journalists must be free to do their job without fear for their safety. In times of conflict the plurality of voices and opinions are needed more than ever in order for the citizens to be informed,” Mijatovic said.

The media freedom situation in Ukraine reflects the overall security situation, which will not improve if there is no action,” she added. “All political leaders engaged in resolving the crisis in Ukraine need to clearly understand that violations of media freedom are unacceptable.”

Comments (52)


AK 21.08.2014 13:49

Canada's war time PM King said tow distinct things:

1. "When it comes to the Jewish immigration, zero is too much."

2. "I am very peased as these bombs were not used against Germany."


AK 21.08.2014 13:45

Ivo Petrović 21.05.2014 20:44

Come on, we already know what RT would (and will) write about this elections.


Many of the international observers for the Ukrainian elction were sent from from huge Ukrainian community in Western Canada.

Following the instruction of Attlee government of UK, Canada allowed many Ukrainian Nazi war criminals to settle in Canada while rejecting the immigration of the survivors of the Holocaust.


AK 21.08.2014 13:40

wigan bi 14.06.2014 00:47

RT staff are not proper journalists in the sense they work for state funded mouthpiece for the kremlin.


It was the media tycoon Murdoch whi was compelled to confess under oath at UK's Parliament that his media lies to serve the 1%.

It was UK who norminated Hitlerfor Nobel Peace Proze in 1938. This country never considered norminating Gandhy for Nobel Peace Prize.

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