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Ukraine Bans Russian Journalist From Entering Country

KYIV -- Russian television cameraman Ihor Belokopytov was banned from entering Ukraine when he arrived at Kyiv's Boryspil Airport from Moscow on September 18, RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service reports.

The Ukrainian Security Service says Belokopytov was spreading "false information about Ukrainian citizens" and was therefore not allowed to enter the country.

Belokopytov, who works for Russia's state TV company Rossiya, said he was "detained and searched" by Ukrainian border guards. The state border service denies the allegation.

Belokopytov later returned to Moscow.

Belokopytov was the cameraman for a 2006 film that claimed there were secret CIA prisons on Ukrainian territory used for the rendition of suspected terrorists.

Anatoliy Hrycenko, Ukraine's defense minister at the time, sued Belokopytov for libel and won the case.

Another Belokopytov film, about the Russia-Georgia war, claimed that Ukrainians fought in the conflict on Georgia's side.

Taras Chornovil, a member of the parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee, told RFE/RL that such bans on people are "harmful" and "absurd."

Viktoria Siumar of Kyiv's Mass Media Institute says that banning Belokopytov would not prevent the spreading of false information.

Siumar told RFE/RL that "Ukraine only loses in this situation." She said that instead of such bans Ukraine should provide "alternative information."