The Armenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs stresses that the group of journalists from Ukraine that was reportedly banned from entering Armenia last week had no accreditation.
Earlier, producer of the Ukrainian television company, ICTV, Oksana Dykhnich claimed that their crew was not allowed to enter Armenia despite “all arrangements made as required”. She further claimed that the entry ban was imposed at the request of Russia.
In a Facebook post Dykhnich said the company’s crew went on a business trip to Armenia, but upon arrival were denied entry because they were blacklisted in Russia for their work in the east of Ukraine where government forces are fighting Russian-backed separatists.
“This ban is valid for all countries of the [Russian-led] customs union,” Dykhnich claimed, recommending that her colleagues in Ukraine consider this circumstance in planning their trips to countries of the Eurasian Economic Union that besides Russia includes Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia.
“The Ukrainian TV company did not apply for any accreditation to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and this fact was publicly admitted by the producer of the TV station who made an appropriate post on Facebook,” Armenian Foreign Ministry spokesman Tigran Balayan told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service (Azatutyun.am). “Our employee left a comment to that post and the woman admitted that they did not apply for accreditation,” he added.
Balayan insisted that Armenia has no “black list” of journalists. At the same time, the Foreign Ministry spokesman did not wish to answer the question on why the Ukrainian television crew was not allowed to enter Armenia. “Answering this question is not within my competence,” he said.
Meanwhile, in a comment to Dykhnich’s Facebook post a user named Hovhannes Igityan (the name of an opposition politician in Armenia) insists that the lack of accreditation cannot become a reason for banning a Ukrainian citizen with a valid passport from entering Armenia, since Armenia and Ukraine have a visa-free regime.