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Ukraine Has No Love For Dmitry Medvedev

"Next time, Dmitry, call first."

"Next time, Dmitry, call first."

Poor Dmitry Medvedev gets no respect.

Not long ago, he was president of a nuclear-armed world power. Now, he can't even get clearance for his plane to land in a provincial Ukrainian city to watch a soccer match.

The Russian prime minister was in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, on June 27 for an official visit. In the evening, he planned to fly to the eastern city of Donetsk to watch a semifinal of the Euro 2012 soccer championship between Spain and Portugal.

But the authorities in Donetsk would not give Medvedev's plane clearance to land, citing security concerns.

"It was not the best time to receive the delegation, which would require special safety measures," Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Borys Kolesnikov, who is overseeing the tournament, told the Ekho Moskvy radio station.

Kolesnikov noted that the Donetsk airport received more than 150 flights on June 27 and called it an "adequate solution" to send Medvedev's plane back to Kyiv.

He added that special arrangements could have been made if the Russian national team were playing in the semifinal. Russia was eliminated from the tournament in the group stage after a 1-0 loss to Greece on June 16.

Medvedev reacted affably -- at least in public -- to the embarrassing incident, joking that the Russian team ruined his plans to view the semifinal, according to the daily "Moskovsky komsomolets."

About This Blog

Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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