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Ukraine Banned Entry of 20,000 Russians Since Regime Change

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More than 20,000 Russians have been banned from entering Ukraine since March, a spokesman for the Ukrainian State Border Service’s said Friday.

KIEV, May 16 (RIA Novosti) – More than 20,000 Russians have been banned from entering Ukraine since March, a spokesman for the Ukrainian State Border Service’s said Friday.

“More than 200 radically minded citizens were also denied entry,” the UNIAN news agency quoted Sergei Astakhov as saying.

Following weeks of the so-called Maidan mass rallies, Ukraine underwent a regime change in February when the Ukrainian parliament backed by far-right movements ousted President Viktor Yanukovych, amended the country’s constitution and scheduled early elections for May 25.

Last month, Ukraine banned Russian males aged 16-60 from entering the country, with exceptions including men traveling with relatives who are women or children, or those who have documents confirming an invitation from close relatives or serious illness or death in the family.

The authorities in Kiev temporarily closed the border with Crimea on Monday. Russia’s largest airline Aeroflot has also announced it was canceling flights to Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine because it was denied permission to enter the country’s airspace.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the ban was outrageous and called the move on the part of the Ukrainian government “obviously discriminatory and unfriendly.”

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said earlier this month that Kiev has not changed the entry rules for Russian citizens, claiming it only stiffened control at border crossings.

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