Ukraine lifts entry ban for Russian dignitaries

17:53, 09 July 2007
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Including Zatulin, Zhirinovskiy, Dugin, Leontiev, and Pavlovskiy

Ukraine lifted Monday its entry ban on a number of well-known Russians, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said, citing "a need for further development in Russian-Ukrainian relations", according to RIA Novosti.

The list included Konstantin Zatulin, a lower house lawmaker and head of a CIS-focused think tank; flamboyant ultra-nationalist politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky; nationalist analyst Alexander Dugin; pro-Kremlin journalist and TV anchor Mikhail Leontiev, political consultant Gleb Pavlovsky, still believed to be behind Russia`s so called efforts to prevent Ukraine`s Orange Revolution in late 2004, and some other pro-Russian activists.

They were all banned from entering Ukraine for "activities linked to attempts to undermine Ukraine`s territorial integrity" and "inciting ethnic and national hatred," the Ukrainian foreign ministry said.

The ministry stressed that the ban was lifted after Russia made repeated requests, but does not include those accused of terrorism, and said that those formerly subject to the ban would be stopped on the Ukrainian border each time they enter the country to be warned of the consequences of repeating their actions.

If these individuals ignore the warning, the ministry said, the ban will be reinstated.

Normally, Russians and Ukrainians do not require a visa to travel between the two countries.

Zatulin was banned from entering the country on May 16, 2006, after he attend protests against NATO-led military exercises in the Crimea and made remarks about Ukraine`s foreign policy.

Zhirinovsky was declared a persona non grata in June 2006, officially for "comments humiliating Ukraine." Ministry spokesman Marina Ostapenko said his individual ban was lifted as he "had recognized that his actions were destructive" and "ceased to make comments threatening Ukraine`s security."

Pavlovsky was declared a persona non grata on July 20, 2006, officially for "activities against Ukraine`s interests," but four months later was allowed a one-day visit to his elderly father in the southern city of Odessa.

Leontiev was banned on July 14, 2006. Russian website Lenta.ru cited a government source saying some of Leontiev`s public remarks regarding Ukraine had been seen as "offensive."

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