The Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) has imposed a ban against former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev that forbids him from entering Ukraine for five years.
SBU spokeswoman Olena Hitlyanska confirmed the ban in an interview with Interfax on May 26, saying Gorbachev is not allowed to enter Ukraine for the next five years "in the interest of national security."
According to Hitlyanska, the decision was made in response to Gorbachev's recent public statements in support of Moscow's occupation and illegal annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula in 2014.
In a recent interview with London's Sunday Times newspaper, the 85-year-old Gorbachev said he supported the annexation, and that the hastily organized and internationally criticized referendum in Crimea represented "the free will of the people and most in Crimea."
Gorbachev said he would have acted the same way on the issue as Russian President Vladimir Putin if he had found himself in a similar situation.
Gorbachev on May 26 declined to comment on the ban.