Sign up for PM Award Updates!

Kosovo expels Russian, Ukrainian journalists

September 16, 2016

Kosovo police said Friday they had expelled two journalists, a Russian and a Ukranian, who did not have entry visas.

They “had neither visas nor entry stamps for the Republic of Kosovo,” a police press release said, adding that the reporters had been escorted to a northern border crossing with Serbia.

Police mentioned only the initials of the journalists, while local media said that they were Russian reporter Oksana Sazonova and her Ukrainian colleague, Sergei Belous.

Both were working for Russian media outlets in Belgrade.

They were detained on Thursday in southern Kosovo on suspicion of illegally entering the country and were taken to Pristina, where they were held in a centre for foreigners before their expulsion on Friday.

Sazonova and Belous were reportedly working on a documentary about Serbian Orthodox churches in Kosovo.

They were also fined 200 euros ($223) each and banned from re-entering Kosovo for the next five years.

Kosovo applies a visa regime to Russia and all other countries that oppose its independence from Serbia, which was unilaterally declared in 2008.

More than 100 members of the United Nations have since recognised Kosovo, including the United States and most of the European Union.

But Serbia still considers the territory as its southern province and is strongly supported on the matter by its ally Russia.

Dispatches from AFP concerning freedom of information, censorship and news coverage in regions where independent media is under threat.