MOSCOW, April 9 (RIA Novosti) – The editor-in-chief of the Russian Pioneer magazine and a special correspondent for the Kommersant newspaper told RIA Novosti Wendesday he had been denied entry to Ukraine, the latest of a series of Russian journalists barred from the country.
“The officers said we didn’t have enough financial resources at hand, while the business trip was planned for three days only and I deliberately brought 1,000 euros in cash,” Andrei Kolesnikov told RIA Novosti.
In the eastern Ukrainian city Kharkiv, Kolesnikov and Kommersant photographer Dmitri Azarov were taken off a train and sent back to the Russian city Belgorod across the border, the journalist explained.
Ukrainian customs officers also disembarked a Rossiya TV camera crew from the train, citing the same reason of inadequate financial resources, according to Kolesnikov.
“The phrasing is standard. It felt like no money in the world would suffice to cross the Russian-Ukrainian border that day,” he said.
The minimal disposable sum of money a foreign national is required to have at hand when entering Ukraine is around 400 euros and can be held in cash or demonstrated by a bank statement. A traveler can also provide a notarized letter of guarantee naming a local citizen responsible for the foreigner’s expenses.
Kolesnikov has been a special correspondent for Kommersant since 1996 and has received multiple prestigious awards and published several books on Russian President Vladimir Putin.
A de-facto ban on the entry of Russian journalists into Ukraine is gaining steam, with other reporters experiencing similar issues.
RIA Novosti photographer Alexei Kudenko, who arrived at the Donetsk airport on Tuesday, was also prevented from entering the country. Ukrainian border guards took another RIA Novosti correspondent, Andrei Malyshkin, off a train to Luhansk on Tuesday, with the same “not enough cash” comment from the officials.
The editor-in-chief of the Rossiya Segodnya news agency, Margarita Simonyan, criticized Ukraine’s Border Service for denying Russian journalists entry to the country on her Twitter account on Tuesday, asking how much the country costs if no cash at hand is ever enough to enter.