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Austria Protests Ukraine's Decision To Bar ORF Journalist

Austrian journalist Christian Wehrschuetz (file photo)

Austria has protested Ukraine's move to bar an Austrian reporter, calling the move an act of censorship.

Ukraine told Austria it would deny entry to Christian Wehrschuetz, the Kyiv bureau chief for the Austrian national broadcaster ORF, branding him a "threat to national security," an Austrian Foreign Ministry spokesman said on March 8.

Wehrschuetz says Kyiv accuses him of crossing the bridge Russia has built between Crimea, which Russian forces seized from Ukraine in 2014, and Russia. He denies the accusation, saying that when he reported on the bridge in July his crew crossed it but he did not.

"The travel ban imposed on...Wehrschuetz in Ukraine is an unacceptable act of censorship," Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl, who danced with Russian President Vladimir Putin at her wedding last year, said on Twitter on March 7.

The Foreign Ministry spokesman said on March 8 that the Ukrainian ambassador had been summoned and would meet the ministry's secretary general on March 11. Kneissl will be in Moscow that day to meet her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.

Based on reporting by AFP, Reuters, and dpa