Members of an OSCE monitoring mission take photos of house in Avdiivka after shelling by pro-Russian rebels in February 2017. Ukraine has barred two Spanish freelancers from entry to the country over their rpeorting on the conflict in the east. (AFP/Anatolii Stepanov)

Ukraine bars Spanish journalists over coverage of conflict in east

August 29, 2017 1:40 PM ET

New York, August 29, 2017--The Security Service of Ukraine today said that it barred the Spanish freelance journalists Antonio Pampliega and Ángel Sastre from entering the country for three years over their reporting on the conflict in the east, according to news reports.

A SBU spokeswoman said that the journalists were barred because of their "activities that contradict the national interest of Ukraine," according to reports. She added that their publications and social media posts contained anti-Ukrainian messages. The spokeswoman cited articles by Pampliega and Sastre that allege Ukrainian troops shelled civilian areas, according to Reuters. The SBU said the reports were false.

"We call on the Security Service of Ukraine to stop its offensive against journalists who challenge the government-approved line on sensitive issues, including the conflict in the east," said CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova. "Ukraine should overturn its ban on Antonio Pampliega and Ángel Sastre, and allow all journalists to report freely and without fear of harassment."

Security officials detained the two journalists at Kiev airport for 20 hours before expelling them on August 25, according to reports. The journalists report for outlets including the Madrid-based El Confidencial.

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