New York, August 15, 2017--Ukrainian security and immigration authorities should remove all restrictions on Russian journalist Tamara Nersesyan's ability to report from Ukraine, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The Ukrainian National Security Service (SBU) last night detained Nersesyan, a special correspondent for the Russian state broadcaster VGTRK, and deported her to Russia.
Nersesyan told the Russian media holding RBC that security officials detained her in the street in Kiev last night, brought her to the SBU headquarters, and questioned her for three hours. She said she was told she was being expelled from Ukraine and banned from the country for three years because of her reporting, which security officials told her inflamed the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
"We call on Ukraine to allow Tamara Nersesyan and all journalists to report freely from the country, regardless of their country of origin or the editorial line of their employers," CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova said. "Banning Russian media from Ukraine is neither democratic nor conducive to resolving the crisis between the two countries."
The SBU accused the journalist of damaging Ukraine's national interests, the Russian news agency TASS reported.
"I hope nobody doubts that this person was acting to the detriment of Ukraine's national interests," SBU spokeswoman Olena Gitlyanska wrote on Facebook today, without elaborating. According to Ukrainian media, Nersesyan had reported on the Ukrainian patriotic festival Bandershtat before she was expelled.
In May, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed a decree that "restricts or suspends" the access of least 19 Russian media companies and four Russian websites to telecommunications services, and banned at least 13 journalists from entering Ukraine for a year, CPJ reported at the time.